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The UK is under lockdown again. According to YouGov (4340 adults surveyed on 5th January) 85% of citizens approve. There may also be Tiers, of the four former sorts, and a possible fifth for very serious cases, but these have probably been superseded, and should be considered old news. Now it is just lockdown, and the Tiers have been shed. There are exceptions, some special circumstances, but the general invocation is: DON’T MINGLE WITH OTHERS. Essential shopping is allowed, and essential going to the doctor, and essential exercise, but not the other stuff of life, unless absolutely essential. Doctors can still be trained at medical schools, which is comforting.

On a strategic front, the good news is that we are now better prepared for the next pandemic, which is due in about 4 year’s time. That prediction from South Korea is based on the observation that we are continuing to increase in population size, pushing against the remaining wild spaces, and that some people at those margins like eating the flesh of wild animals. We can be pretty certain that the next epidemic will come from China, where millions still live in close contact with animals (pigs and ducks, mostly) and have broad appetites; and also from the Congo, where bushmeat is prized. Viruses long circulating among bats, for example, will jump to other species, at a rate which broadly correlates with the spread of human settlements into the remaining wildness. That is the conventional story.

The unconventional one is that for years some virology labs have got trigger happy, or grant income happy, and have been doing wild “gain of function” experiments (artificially boosting the infectiousness of viruses so that they can jump to humans) which have doubtful utility and pose considerable dangers. Bats were just hanging in caves 900 miles from Wuhan, and if they had tried for some reason to fly there, they would have infected animals and perhaps people on the way. That did not happen. The virus that actually spread across the world was, the official Chinese authorities say, collected from those caves back in 2011 or so, and then safely kept in a test tube in Wuhan. Yes, it was taken out of storage and used in bench experiments in that lab, which may have included “passing” it through other hosts so that it learned how to infect them. That detail has not been disclosed.

American labs were front runners in this technique, which was supposedly done to create future hazards and then try to deal with them. Prevention, it was argued. The US funded this research at home, with very occasional fatal errors when things escaped from the lab, and the same swashbuckling researchers trained up and sent money to the Bat Lady of Wuhan. I would rank the “lab leak” view as a Plausible Hypothesis. It is possible that this pandemic is the result of the Chinese not properly containing a virus which was trained up to be more infectious. A year has gone by, and as of today, the team who are trying to investigate the year-old scene of the incident, or scene of the accident, have not yet gained access. The Chinese authorities, with straight face and great politeness, explain that the delays are being created by their wish to have everything absolutely ready for the inspectors. A preliminary view is that we did not get the full story from China, to our great and continuing cost, and are unlikely to get it for a long time.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, we are watching and living in the sequel of a low-grade horror movie. All the frightening indicators are up: cases are up, even when controlled for extra testing, positive test results are up, particularly for the new variant, and in recent days, so are deaths. As a rule of thumb, deaths are 5000 per million infected. That is low, from one point of view, but 5000 times higher than the likely side effects of vaccinating one million people. Even the most prudent of gamblers is likely to consider vaccination to be a good bet. Projected uptake in the UK is expected to be 70%, and possibly 80%. Care home workers, who are prime vectors for passing the virus on to the most vulnerable are said to be less keen, with 40% doubting they would take it, but that was a brief survey of 300 workers, so may not be accurate.

Now the story is “why are we waiting?” General practitioners cannot answer that question, but sincerely request that their patients shut up and stop asking them when they will be vaccinated, because the doctors don’t know. For some days the government blamed the pharma companies for hesitant supplies. The companies replied they were delivering as promised. Then it turned out that volunteer vaccinators, even with impeccable medical and nursing credentials, were facing bureaucratic hurdles such as diversity training which were putting them off. That was denied by official sources. Then it was alleged that the vaccines were being subjected to an additional inspection regime, imposing at least another 4 or 5 days of watchful waiting. Normal practice, and prudent, but many of these organisations were working 5 days a week, while the death rate was over 1000 a day. The virus works weekends. Few bureaucrats do. The testing of stock inspection was in addition to the first phase, in which only hospitals gave the vaccine, in case of bad reactions. That is now over, and ordinary clinics can do it, but some have not been receiving any supplies.

Meanwhile Israel was stealing the headlines by using its four nationwide health service organisations to compete with each other to vaccinate as many citizens as possible. (If you don’t like the one you are in you can sign up with another). Drive through and walk through clinics were working with military efficiency. The old socialist basis of health care winning kudos at last. Other countries are still trying to cut deals with Pfizer, and making slow progress.

In the spirit of capitalism new entries in the market, like Johnson and Johnson, are offering (once approved in a few week’s time) to do an effective job with one jab. If so, then their Janssen vaccine will be a clear winner. The price is also good, which impacts take up in poorer countries, where most people live. A purely capitalist approach would be to pay good money to vaccinate one’s self. A socialist approach is to subsidise the vaccination of most people so as to live in a safe herd. Both approaches have their benefits. An ideal approach would be to target all health workers, potential super-spreaders, and then the most vulnerable.

The latest advice to family doctors is that they should prioritize vaccination above all other activities, since this will provide the greatest benefit to the health of the nation. All we need to do is to join the dots, and get the products to the vaccinators so that they can get them into the arms of the public. The Prime Minister has promised that this will happen at the rate of 2 million per week “within weeks” such that 14 million will have been vaccinated by mid-February. Only 31% think it likely that this will be achieved.

Who will be the modern day Boccaccio?

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Coronavirus, Disease 
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  1. LondonBob says:

    People aren’t paying much attention around me, rightly so. The government, still in thrall to the far left ideolugues on sage, intend for this to last to July, they have lucrative contracts for PPE after all. The question is how long will people tolerate lockdown and the financial markets the cost?

    If it weren’t for the flawed PCR tests and government/media hype there wouldn’t be any evidence there was an issue, the virus is now endemic, and for us Londoners has been since May!

    • Agree: Polite Derelict
  2. Sean says:

    [THIS] point, which I was making to everybody while in China: I said, “Look, guys, I talked to you about this in 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and every year since. We cannot have these wildlife markets.”

    The SARS pandemic of 2003 was caused by the SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1 virus which has a spike protein derived from a civet, which the Chinese eat in “dragon-tiger-phoenix soup”, whose other ingredients include bats. The COVID-19 pandemic that came to notice earlier this year is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus two (SARS-CoV-2) virus. This has a spike protein from a pangolin, (scaly anteater) which was the world’s most trafficked animal because the Chinese consume believing it is an aphrodisiac. Lipkin, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’ , went to Saudi Arabia in 2012 to investigate the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) which had a spike protein from a camel. The evidence suggests that COVID-19 was a disease that arose in from primitive animal husbandry and mixed slaughter in the same way that SARS, and MERS were.

  3. Bill H says:

    Numbers vary a bit, but the high end of consensus says that 0.5% of people who become infected die from the disease. Worst case rates of infection I can find are around 21% of those who are tested. So the risk of death is one half of one percent of 21% which comes out to 0.01% risk of death. That’s one person out of every 10,000.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @Johnny Rico
  4. “On a strategic front, the good news is that we are now better prepared for the next pandemic, which is due in about 4 year’s time.”

    I mean, we will have another one of these staged pandemics if more people fail to wake up to the rather obvious reality surrounding the current one. And when even distinguished HBD/IQ researchers (Thompson, Sailer, Karlin, et al.) are unable to do this, I’m not optimistic about our chances.

  5. @Bill H

    That is in the region of the Swiss and the Swedish data of excess deaths in 2020: 0,03% seems to be the Swedish number – Switzerland being close.

    Hail has the details:

    https://hailtoyou.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/against-the-corona-panic-part-xix-wuhan-corona-vs-previous-flu-waves-sweden-quantified-on-near-final-data-for-2020/#comment-47231

    Switzerland did close museums, gyms, theaters, cinemas clubs, and (partly) restaurants – but all else works like it always does – quite nicely. No problems in the Greman-speaking part of Switzerland with emergency care beds. Lots of empty beds in Appenzell (IR and AR), Thurgau, and Grischuna.

    • Thanks: Mark G.
  6. None of the rates on UNZ ever match real data sets.

    4.3% of the UK has been infected. 6.7% of the United States.

    The overall death rate in the UK is 2.7% of those confirmed infected, not 0.5%.

    California and Massachusetts which are both below the American average infection rate and at the same time more infected than the UK have current death rates of 0.9% and 1.2% of those confirmed infected.

    The 0.5% death rate is based on the assumption that for every person tested and confirmed infected there is another who was infected, never tested and displayed no symptoms. This has never been verified by any studies to my knowledge as has almost nothing about the virus or the vaccines.

    • Thanks: Sean
    • Replies: @canspeccy
    , @Bill Jones
  7. @Bill H

    The issue with using a “consensus” number based on modelling rather than actual data is that the lower the number, the closer we should be to herd immunity.

    The numbers you use suggest we are at herd immunity now, especially with social distancing measures and lockdowns. And yet, the definition of herd immunity is that it is the point where the virus stops spreading.

    But the virus is attaining record numbers daily with only some indications the second wave is plateauing and about to start decreasing.

    These are mutually exclusive conditions.

    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @res
  8. Meanwhile in Bridgend County, 10,000 people out of 80,000 have now been verifiably infected. The highest in the UK. There is no sign of slowing down due to superspreaders acquiring Immunity. Should I go to the dentist?

  9. We can be pretty certain that the next epidemic will come from China?

    We are already pretty certain that it didn’t. A November 11, 2020 Italian paper provided concrete evidence of Covid-19 circulating in Europe in the Fall of 2019. Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy – Giovanni Apolone, et al., Tumori, 2020. The Italian paper showed that four cases dated back to the first week of October were also positive for antibodies neutralizing the virus, meaning they had got infected in September. Giovanni Apolone, a co-author of the study, told Reuters, “This is the main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests but had also antibodies able to kill the virus. It means that the new coronavirus can circulate among the population for long and with a low rate of lethality not because it is disappearing but only to surge again”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33176598/

    America’s CDC found Covid-19 in the US before it was in China, agreeing with findings in Italy and France. Tests of blood samples taken in the US from December 13 last year revealed evidence of antibodies for the Covid-19 virus. The samples were taken more than two weeks before the December 31 official confirmation of the outbreak in Wuhan and a month earlier than the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the US on January 19.https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3112160/american-study-finds-signs-coronavirus-us-china-outbreak
    Original paper: https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa1785/6012472

  10. Which pandemic? Do you mean the mass graves in Hyde park? The bodies that float down the Thames?

    The missing salesmen, power plant employees and bus drivers? The death toll in every teacher’s college and the many taken by the military’s shoot-to-kill orders in the streets?

    You have lost your standards, you and all the other who run such smear campaigns.

    If you all would not have sunk into the s*** long ago there would be only one:

    Shame on you, try to adjust yourself.

  11. @Godfree Roberts

    We are already pretty certain that it didn’t.

    Agree emphatically, the abundance of evidence – for those who care to dig it out – points not toward but away from China as the source of the elusive Corona Chan bug.

    European, Japanese, Taiwanese and even American boffins have all arrived at similar conclusions coming from different avenues of research.

    The problem we have in the Empire’s colonies, however, is that the herd doesn’t seem to care. All that seems to matter is that the government-annointed “experts” have assessed that a “deadly virus” spread around the world “from China”.

    The brainwashed lemmings have all swallowed the orchestrated Corona Chan mythology hook, line & sinker, so that the disastrous fake science policies mandated by our “democratic” governments to deal with Corona Chan, and especially the forced “vaccination” of the masses with fast-tracked Frankensteinian concoctions, are effectively a fait accompli.

    And just in case the lower classes decide to get a bit uppity and make noises of rebellion, creepy Bill Gates has already stated on record that the next pandemic will “make them all sit up and take notice”.

  12. meamjojo says:

    Ha ha ha!

    BBC Tells People to Wear Face Masks During Sex
    “Choose positions that aren’t face-to-face during sex.”
    6 January, 2021
    https://summit.news/2021/01/06/bbc-tells-people-to-wear-face-masks-during-sex/

  13. James Thompson says

    vaccination to be a good bet

    Huh?

    Rate Of Adverse Reactions To COVID Vaccines Already 50x Higher Than Flu Shot
    https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/rate-adverse-reactions-covid-vaccines-already-50x-higher-flu-shot

    Many dead right after receiving covid vaccine but it’s always ‘not related’ LOL … but if you cough before you die of cancer it’s always covid that killed you

    [MORE]

    Sonia Azevedo, 41, surgical assistant at an oncology hospital in Porto, Portugal, received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, had dinner with her family the next day, and was found dead in bed the following morning
    https://www.rt.com/news/511524-portuguese-nurse-dies-pfizer-vaccine/

    Miami obstetrician Dr Gregory Michael, 58 died after catastrophic reaction to Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9119431/Miami-doctor-58-dies-three-weeks-receiving-Pfizer-Covid-19-vaccine.html

    In Iceland, three people vaccinated against Covid-19 have now died
    https://www.icelandreview.com/society/no-evidence-of-link-between-nursing-home-deaths-and-vaccination/

    In Mexico, young doctor Karla Cecilia Perez was left partially paralysed in her arms and legs mere hours after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
    https://www.rt.com/news/511592-doctor-paralyzed-covid-vaccine-mexico/

    2 dead in Norway after receiving covid vaccine
    https://shaamtimes.net/en/2021/01/06/2-people-died-in-norway-days-after-receiving-pfizers-covid-19-vaccine/

    2 dead in Israel after receiving covid vaccine
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/88-year-old-dies-hours-after-vaccine-doctors-stress-he-was-seriously-ill/

    1 dead in Switzerland after receiving covid vaccine
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-swiss-death-idUSKBN29413Y

    2 dead in the trials of the Pfizer – BionTech covid vaccine, 1 dead in the Moderna vaccine trial, a priest Rev. John Fields of Philadelphia, 1 dead in Brazil in the Sinovac vaccine trial
    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/fda-says-2-participants-pfizer-covid-vaccine-trial-have-died

    Prof Dolores Cahill of University College Dublin: People Will Start Dying a Few Months after the First mRNA Covid Vaccine Vaccinations


    • Thanks: canspeccy
    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  14. refl says:

    We can be pretty certain that the next epidemic will come from China, where millions still live in close contact with animals (pigs and ducks, mostly) and have broad appetites; and also from the Congo, where bushmeat is prized.

    Wrong! The next pandemic will come out of my ass, because I like to scratch it from time to time and being forced to stay at home and doing nothing, my ass-scratch rate has increased exponentialy, and there are lots of things down there that you don’t want to know about.

    Forgive me the trolling, please. I won’t do int again!

    Can we please drum it into the heads of everyone that the data for 2020 is now coming in and that there was no excess mortality anywhere, basically? Should this not settle the issue?

  15. @brabantian

    “Rate Of Adverse Reactions To COVID Vaccines Already 50x Higher Than Flu Shot” is a tremendously stupid headline, because there’s a huge difference between “passive” vaccines, in this case protein plus adjuvant, vs. “active” vaccines like the mRNA ones and the many live virus vaccines including the attenuated variety that gave us the name “vaccine.” These actually hijack cells to mimic a real infection and get a complete immune system response, thus a higher benefit at a greater risk.

    And anyone who tells you vaccinating millions of people isn’t going to maim and kill some of them is an idiot or a liar, although a whole lot of people are completely ignorant of actuarial science (TL;DR run the numbers against the normal deaths you know will happen in such populations). Again, people with a clue will weight the risks and benefits, will for example already know the meaning of the word “morbidity.”

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  16. Another article that is really a propaganda piece to try to convince the weak of mind to WANT to take the concoction the masters are selling. All the articles about limited supplies, people clamoring for shots and can’t get them, etc are all attempts to influence the public. This is advertising at its finest.

  17. @Godfree Roberts

    You better stop bringing up inconvenient facts.

    The sheep have already made up their mind that they want the vaccine to mitigate the China virus. That’s the official message and you’re just causing them to fleetingly, temporarily, consider alternate explanations and that’s not allowed.

    With minds as dense as a brick, the average person will discard your attempts at providing information because they’ve been taught since childhood to never think for themselves and to only believe what some bogus expert has to say.

    It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.
    Mark Twain

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
  18. jsinton says:

    I’m so glad I live in Florida. Everyone has lost their minds.

  19. canspeccy says: • Website
    @Johnny Rico

    4.3% of the UK has been infected. 6.7% of the United States.

    Goldman Sachs is reported to have estimated the proportion of Americans with Covid19 immunity at 26% as of December 20, 2020..

    The overall death rate in the UK is 2.7% of those confirmed infected, not 0.5%.

    Do you have a credible source for that claim? Among those under 60, it is reported that a total of less than 400 healthy people in the UK have died from Covid19.

    Mainly, it seems, Covid precipitates death of those already near death. This will have a significant effect on life expectancy, as the nearly deads are knocked off by the virus a few months or a year or two early. The result will be huge savings in cost of elder care, which will stave off, at least for a few years, the collapse of Britain’s monstrous, 1.25 million-employee National Totem, aka the National Health Service.

  20. JasonT says:

    There are only 32 confirmed cases of the flu in Canada this fall, with 4 in Quebec. Canada is not the only country seeing a dramatic drop in flu cases, as the United States and Europe are reporting similar situations. The public health director in Quebec says if you have flu-like symptoms, it’s probably COVID-19.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/flu-vaccine-campaign-quebec-1.5865170?fbclid=IwAR1R0Iw8oSWixL-rOVxJf1x7VnAOozZ2GTFPFDzbRBCThZqzwf-GIyGf1EY

    And we are expected to believe that the flu has magically disappeared? The far more reasonable conclusion is that COVID-19 is a scam and we are simply experiencing a normal flu season.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  21. Dumbo says:

    The UK is under lockdown again. According to YouGov (4340 adults surveyed on 5th January) 85% of citizens approve

    Dear God… How easily white people are brainwashed…

    On a strategic front, the good news is that we are now better prepared for the next pandemic, which is due in about 4 year’s time.

    You mean, we’re better prepared for the next psyops. Only, it won’t be a “pandemic” this time, it will be a cyber attack, or something about “global warming”.

    The latest advice to family doctors is that they should prioritize vaccination above all other activities, since this will provide the greatest benefit to the health of the nation.

    You do realize that several people younger than 40 died or had very bad side effects after taking the vaccine? That’s worse than Covid, so far, for that age.

    Who will be the modern day Boccaccio?

    Now Covid is the black death?? Anyway, Bocaccio was not “staying home” cowering in fear even though he lived in Florece during the plague.

    You know, I read the other day a study showing that high-IQ people are more susceptible to propaganda. This would explain many things.

    They lied to us about WW2, Iraq, 9/11, Libya, Bin Laden’s death, Syria gas attack, they keep lying about immigration and “transgenders”, but… “they are telling the truth about COVID”

    REALLY??

    • Replies: @GeeBee
    , @Wielgus
  22. Dumbo says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    Hey Mr. Telling, why don’t you take that stupid vaccine, and stop propagandizing about it to people who don’t want it? Please let us know the side effects, thank you.

    And anyone who tells you vaccinating millions of people isn’t going to maim and kill some of them is an idiot or a liar,

    So, you mean a lot of healthy people under 40 will die or have awful health problems from the vaccine, which they wouldn’t otherwise because Covid basically only really kills people over 80. Gee, that’s great… Well, thanks for admitting that, at least, Pfizer-Boy!

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  23. @Dumbo

    Hey Mr. Telling, why don’t you take that stupid vaccine

    As a white male deplorable in flyover country in the US under 65 and without any relevant comorbidities, with Team Biden switching to Third World inoculation methods, I’ll get right back to you I estimate in the 3rd to 4th quarter of this year.

    Maybe sooner if Janssen and/or Novavax succeed in their Phase III trials, news from the former might be sometime soon if one dose works, latter just started their US Phase III trial which implies their U.K. half size Phase III trial is going well. AZ/Oxford at this time is a hard pass.

    I would guess a nearer date if enough people refuse to take one, but how many of us expect our ruling trash not constrained by Trump to take his laissez-faire attitude towards getting vaccinated?

    and stop propagandizing about it to people who don’t want it?

    Unz.com has hands down the very best commenting system I’ve ever used, so let me draw your attention to the AGREE/DISAGREE/ETC. button second to the left under this message. Inside the popup window there’s an IGNORE COMMENTER button, hit that and you’ll never again see anything I say in any topic on Unz.com. Problem solved!

    • Agree: Dumbo
    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  24. joe2.5 says:

    Who will be the modern day Boccaccio?

    The modern-day disciple of Boccaccio saw it coming last March, rented a nice place with a lot of room and reliable internet, convinced some of his best friends, male and female, to join him, stored up non-perishable food before panic buying set in (4 months’ worth of provisions looked pessimistic then.) They are still a group in strict isolation, getting only no-contact deliveries at the door.

    I guess that there are a good number of such modern Boccaccios; their so-called pods are whiling away the time (mine is, in any case) just as Boccaccio’s group did, exchanging stories. How many of them are likely to write these stories instead of posting online about the twists and turns of the new plague?

  25. AKAHorace says:
    @JasonT

    And we are expected to believe that the flu has magically disappeared? The far more reasonable conclusion is that COVID-19 is a scam and we are simply experiencing a normal flu season.

    You don’t think that the measures taken against the spread of COVID-19 might have stopped the spread of flu ?

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @res
    , @JasonT
  26. dearieme says:
    @AKAHorace

    There clearly was a genuine Covid epidemic in Britain from March to May 2020.

    What we are seeing now is much less clear. There are reports of many 20 and 30 years old patients in the ICUs. This would be compatible with a flu epidemic misdiagnosed as Covid. Or maybe we have two epidemics simultaneously – there’s no profound reason to suppose that can’t happen.

    If the PCR test churns out as many false positives as some commentators fear, correctly recognising what’s happening will be difficult.

    What work could be done to eliminate the possibility that we are seeing an epidemic that is, in whole or in part, the flu?

    • Replies: @res
    , @CanSpeccy
  27. res says:
    @Johnny Rico

    And yet, the definition of herd immunity is that it is the point where the virus stops spreading.

    Worth noting the time lags involved. The total number infected can exceed the herd immunity threshold because of the cases in the pipeline. One of the reasons it would have been preferable to have a more gradual increase in infections during the summer rather than letting seasonality spin things out of control in the winter. Search my comments for overshoot if interested. I’m tired of repeating things I said back in April and May. Particularly relevant right now are the papers showing that stricter lockdowns could have worse outcomes over the long term because of the more severe second waves created.

  28. Wielgus says:
    @Dumbo

    “You know, I read the other day a study showing that high-IQ people are more susceptible to propaganda. This would explain many things.”
    George Orwell was of the opinion that intellectuals and higher-IQ types in Britain during WW2 were more likely to be defeatist. Perhaps they were more impervious to their own side’s propaganda and less impervious to that of the enemy.

  29. res says:
    @AKAHorace

    You don’t think that the measures taken against the spread of COVID-19 might have stopped the spread of flu ?

    Exactly. Is it really so hard to understand that countermeasures which are sufficient to slow down COVID-19 with an R0 of something like 2.5-3 would be likely to shut down the usual flu with an R0 more like 1.8?

    To put some numbers to that, taking 1.8 to under 1 requires a 45% reduction (multiply by 0.55). Applying the same 45% reduction to an R0 of 3 takes it to an R of 1.65 (2 becomes 1.375).

    If we assume the generation time is two weeks that gives us a growth rate of
    (1.65 – 1) * (1/ 14 days) = 0.046 days^-1
    The reciprocal of that being the doubling time which is 21.5 days.

    For comparison, according to 91-DIVOC:
    https://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/
    the UK has gone from 21 cases per 100k 35 days ago to 90 cases per 100k now. So just over two doublings (2.1) giving a doubling time of 16.7 days.

    If there is currently no flu in the UK that would suggest to me that the R0 of COVID-19 is currently over 3 with the R effective (with current countermeasures) being 1.8 (see below). And that is ignoring the effect of partial herd immunity. Calculation details–rearranging the equation used above:
    (Rt – 1) * (1 / tgen) = r = 1/td
    gives us td = tgen / (Rt – 1)
    or Rt = (tgen / td) + 1 = (14 / 16.7) + 1 = 1.84
    With that assumed MINIMUM 45% reduction in R that gives an estimate for the current R0 of
    R0 >= 1.84 / 0.55 = 3.3

    I think I got that all right, but would appreciate a double check.

    P.S. Some discussion about the doubling time calculation.
    https://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/463613/understanding-the-relationship-between-r0-doubling-time-and-the-epidemic-curve

  30. res says:
    @dearieme

    You make some good points, but I think my R0 analysis makes it clear the flu is an unlikely explanation. Unless we coincidentally had an extremely bad variant of the flu show up this year. I think Occam’s razor indicates we are seeing the effects of COVID-19.

    Regarding

    There are reports of many 20 and 30 years old patients in the ICUs.

    Do you have any references for that? Perhaps we are just seeing a small number of those cases being trumpeted very loudly by the media?

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @canspeccy
  31. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @dearieme

    You don’t think that the measures taken against the spread of COVID-19 might have stopped the spread of flu ?

    No, no. As everyone now knows, face masks stop the flu totally, they just don’t stop Covid19 as it’s continued spread confirms.

  32. JasonT says:
    @AKAHorace

    No. It is more likely that the seasonal flu is being re-branded as a COVID-19 outbreak.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  33. @Godfree Roberts

    Coronavirus antibody tests are not specific to SARS-COV-2. A decisive test for SARS-COV-2 would be to obtain the sequence of its RNA.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  34. @Johnny Rico

    Your numbers assume that those who died with the disease died of the disease.
    Clearly nonsense.

  35. AKAHorace says:
    @JasonT

    And we are expected to believe that the flu has magically disappeared? The far more reasonable conclusion is that COVID-19 is a scam and we are simply experiencing a normal flu season.

    You don’t think that the measures taken against the spread of COVID-19 might have stopped the spread of flu ?

    No. It is more likely that the seasonal flu is being re-branded as a COVID-19 outbreak.

    Official COVID-19 numbers are increasing all across Europe and North America. How likely is it that all of these different authorities are rebranding the flu as COVID ? This includes countries that up to now have been pretty independent when it comes to the west such as Russia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

    • Replies: @JasonT
  36. @James N. Kennett

    Quite so. That’s why the Chinese sequence the genomes of every confirmed case. Nevertheless, the burden of proof has shifted decisively.

  37. Chinaman says:

    The virus that actually spread across the world was, the official Chinese authorities say, collected from those caves back in 2011 or so

    Can’t believe James is still peddling this 1 year old BS despite all the empirical and genetic evidence that have transpired and also the studies, Forster and our own expert, dux.ie have presented. The lab leak was the first strawman that was refuted.

    The genetic distance between the 2011 bat virus, RatG13 which the bat women posted on GISAID and COVID is 50 year…a 96% genetic similarity. This is unequivocal. The batwomen published the bat virus sequence to prove her innocence and to show that her hands are clean. It is very unlikely that RatG13 is the most recent common ancestor of COVID. The pandemic would have started in 2061 and not 2020 if RatG13 was the culprit. COVID is NOT a lab leak of the bat virus strain she collected.

    Now, assuming it was indeed a lab leak, why would she just release this evidence to incriminate herself? She have vehemently denied all accusations so she must be certain that there is NO evidence to link back to her research. You don’t need to be a genius or a geneticists to know that.

    Given the preponderance of evidence we have now and the great work done by our own resident genomic guru-dux.ie- anyone who still peddles the lab leak theory or the bioattack conspiracy like Ron are either being disingenuous, intellectually dishonest
    , misinformed or have a low IQ.

    It seems that James have finally found the opportunity to use the IQ analytic he have developed on himself. Does fear of COVID make people stupid ?

  38. JasonT says:
    @AKAHorace

    Very likely.

    The rtPCR test being used is completely unreliable and a positive test can be from anything, especially when run at over 20 cycles. Most labs are using 30 or 40 cycles and some as high as 50 cycles. At such high number of cycles, they are amplifying any piece of garbage nucleic acid sequence.

    PCR is not a reliable diagnostic tool. It is a manufacturing tool for making large amounts of polynucleotides.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  39. dearieme says:
    @res

    Perhaps we are just seeing a small number of those cases being trumpeted very loudly by the media?

    Could well be: they have been quoting doctors – youngish ones, perhaps – who work in busy ICUs.

    Your calculations leave the assumption of a (simultaneous) flu outbreak as rather a long shot.

    It’ll be ironic if our lockdowns don’t much hinder Covid but do substantially hinder the flu.

    By the way, they don’t seem to hinder the common cold – I have one now, though so far milder than the one that plagued me from last January to March.

  40. AKAHorace says:
    @JasonT

    The rtPCR test being used is completely unreliable and a positive test can be from anything, especially when run at over 20 cycles. Most labs are using 30 or 40 cycles and some as high as 50 cycles. At such high number of cycles, they are amplifying any piece of garbage nucleic acid sequence.

    PCR is not a reliable diagnostic tool. It is a manufacturing tool for making large amounts of polynucleotides.

    If what you said was the case most rtPCR tests would be positive, in fact the majority of COVID tests are negative and don’t pick anything up. Also even if the tests gave a lot of false positives this should be constant. An increase in positive tests would show that some target was increasing in the population.

    PCR tests and specifically rtPCR can give reproducible results between samples, they are more than just a way of making polynucleotides. Both PCR and rtPCR are widely used in molecular biology for this.

    And finally, assuming that you are right on this, why are so many health authorities, from so many different countries missing this problem ? This is not just the west, it is countries from all over the world with governments that do not like each other. Anyone of them would have plenty of incentive to show up the mistakes of public health authorities from other countries.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  41. @AKAHorace

    Agreed. What the RT-PCR truthers can’t admit or don’t know is that zero time infinity is still zero. You can’t make them do “anything” without something in your sample that can be amplified.

    Which isn’t to say there’s no cross contamination, but when it happens you get results from for example a single lab where there are way too many positives compared to labs which have their act together, I know of one example of that in the US. And of course there can be cross contamination in the sample taking process, but with relatively few having active COVID-19 or still clearing viral debris from their bodies that too will show up in distinct but less obvious patterns.

    My bottom line is hospital capacity; COVID-19 truthers are unable to admit there are indeed parts of a country or region of the world in any one wave that are getting crushed, while others have it under control, or are seeing relatively few cases. Obviously this is a conspiracy by “countries from all over the world with governments that do not like each other,” the greatest one in history to enroll Iran vs. Israel, the PRC and/or RUSSIA!!! vs. the West and the rest of East Asia (and things are none too smooth between Japan and South Korea, to the point Samsung’s continued manufacturing of chips is in jeopardy), etc.

  42. canspeccy says: • Website
    @res

    Is it no correct to assume the following:

    Covid hastens death of many who are already near death due to other causes. Thus in the spring of 2020, as Covid began to spread among the elderly, the whole-population death rate increased, as indicated by the spring excess death numbers. In subsequent months Covid continued to kill many of those already near death, but this generated no excess death numbers because the numbers of Covid-precipitated deaths more or less matched the number of deaths brought forward by Covid in earlier months.

    If that is correct, it means that while Covid continues to circulate, life expectancy will be slightly reduced, but death rates will remain very little changed, as evident from the small to non-existent excess death rates subsequent to the spring of 2020.

    • Replies: @res
  43. res says:
    @canspeccy

    Probably something to that idea. But not sure if it is sufficient to overcome the raw deaths. There will probably be a non-trivial number that don’t really fall into that category.

    as evident from the small to non-existent excess death rates subsequent to the spring of 2020.

    It will be interesting to see if that holds true for the post-Christmas spike once there is time for it to play out and be fully reflected in the statistics.

    • Replies: @canspeccy
  44. …. it is important to remember how angry people are going to be if there is a news story a year or two or three from now indicating that a similar pandemic is about to be inflicted on us again.

    ….. i myself am not much inclined to anger, so i understand the emotion better than i would otherwise.

    ….. let’s just say, for this round, people were willing to chalk it up to bad luck. next round, they won’t be so patient. i do not want the anger of those people to result in misery, but, even though i understand “anger” very well, i don’t know what i would do, even if given great powers, to keep that anger from resulting in almost unbearable misery for the peoples of this world.

    … pray for justice, my friends. pray for mercy, too. Remember God loves us and we have power to make the world a better place!

  45. dearieme says:

    Sad little story in the Guardian: young woman dies of Covid. Poor soul.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/12/family-of-25-year-old-covid-victim-plead-with-people-to-follow-rules

    Two points occurred to me.

    (i) Her picture shows her to be what a layman might call “obese”. It’s a million miles from the medical trades’ definition of obese. When we are told that the obese are more vulnerable, which sort of “obese” is meant? Is the vulnerability concentrated at the very, very fat end of the spectrum?

    (ii) Somewhere I saw a claim that research showed that the extra vulnerability of the obese applied only to those under age 65: those older are exempt. (a) Could that be true? How/why? (b) Has the research been disproven?

    • Replies: @dearieme
  46. dearieme says:
    @dearieme

    In partial answer:

    The data “showed an increasing risk of death with increasing BMI (fully adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation and co-morbidities) with hazard ratios of 1.05, 1.40, and 1.92 for people with a BMI between 30-34.9kg/m2, ≥35-39.9kg/m2 and ≥40kg/m2 respectively, relative to BMI <30kg/m2,” it said.

    https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m2994?ijkey=010b30c57a7955d21b7f4cf32855a1f2cee0c431&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    Furthermore:

    the risk at BMI 35 was 2.56 times higher among people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups than among white Europeans,. At a BMI of 25 there was no such difference.

    What sort of serious work would throw together Indians, Africans, and Chinese?

    • Replies: @res
  47. I covered this in the Critical Care of Fatness post. Minorities get lumped together because it is an understandable UK perspective, but as you say, ridiculous. They are majorities in the world, and have very disparate genetics.

  48. canspeccy says: • Website
    @res

    not sure if it is sufficient to overcome the raw deaths

    Agreed. Death rates have been raised because of public policy responses to Covid. For example:

    The COVID-19 pandemic led to at least 16,000 extra US heart disease deaths during the spring peak as people avoided seeking medical treatment

  49. canspeccy says: • Website

    James:

    Did you see the Spectator article on UCL’s Bizarre Eugenics Policy? Quite funny, especially the comparison of UCL with a second-rate US college — and that coming from a red brick prof. in Wales. LOL.

    More PC stupidity, it seems, from Provost Michael Arthur who booted Nobel Prize Winner, Tim Hunt, from UCL for telling a feeble joke giving offense to none but a professional offense taker. And maybe a basis for a post about eugenics, i.e., the adoption of practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population (though admittedly this would hardly advance your personal standing with the UCL admin.).

    It seems to me that any society that persistently ignores the genetic implications of its social practices is likely to go down the tubes, especially when much of social policy, e.g., welfare motherhood, the promotion of female careerism, etc. is clearly dysgenic.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  50. @canspeccy

    I hadn’t seen it, but thanks for letting me know. Mostly, this is a very sad turn for UCL, which could have responded in a purely scholarly manner, putting matters into a historical context, and saying that it would encourage discussing any subject in a calm and evidence based way.

    The best response to the claim that a conference had supported or encouraged eugenics would be to ask: How did they argue it? Did they publish anything? Is it anything which requires a response?

    • Agree: CanSpeccy
  51. dearieme says:

    One way to try to return some sanity to the universities is to put them on short commons – no gifts, no bequests.

    One of the nine educational institutions that send begging letters to my household has adopted an admissions policy designed to bias admission against any grandson I might have. Why, then, should they expect my widow to leave them a penny?

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  52. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @dearieme

    The best thing might be for you to seek to bias any grandson you may have against seeking admission to an educational institution that puts political correctness before merit in selecting among candidates for admission.

    The school at Cambridge Mass. or at Cambridge, England may have been first rate at one time, but are they that now?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  53. res says:
    @dearieme

    Thanks. So the added risk from having a BMI of 30-34.9 is fairly negligible. While the risk is substantial (though not amazingly so, I might have expected even higher hazard ratios) above that.

    What sort of serious work would throw together Indians, Africans, and Chinese?

    I see two possibilities–one serious and one not.

    1. The kind of person who only sees the world through a not/white lens.
    2. Sample sizes not large enough to draw statistically significant conclusions about the non-white subgroups.

    Here is the link to the full 67 page report.
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907966/PHE_insight_Excess_weight_and_COVID-19__FINAL.pdf

    One interesting tidbit from page 5:

    Excess weight: Classified by the National Institute for Health and Care
    Excellence (NICE)1 as an adult living with overweight, obesity or severe obesity
    with a BMI ≥25kg/m2. BMI cut-off for treatment services are lower for Black,
    Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups than White groups2; 23kg/m2 indicate
    increased risk and 27.5kg/m2 indicate high risk, respectively

    Page 30 gives this reference for the 2.56 BAME number (it is a two page letter to the editor).
    https://dom-pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/dom.14125

    Sample sizes and some demographic information.

    There were 5623 unique test results available (WE: 5352; BME:271), of which 1087 (19.3%) were positive (WE: 1000 [18.7%]; BME:87 [32.1%]). WE individuals with test data had a median (IQR) age of71.3 (62.3, 76.1) years, a BMI of 27.6 (24.8, 30.9) kg/m2and 2650(49.5%) were women. Comparatively, BME individuals were 64.8(57.9, 73.2) years old, had a BMI of 28.2 (25.2, 33.1) kg/m2and136 (50.2%) were women. The majority of the BME population (83%)were first-generation migrants to the UK.

    Given the sample size I can see why they did not break the BME category down. As it is the OR confidence intervals for that group are quite large

    BTW, look at Figure 1. The OR vs. BMI plot for whites is almost flat for whites from 24 to the upper limit at 39. Interesting. Not at all what I would have expected.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  54. @CanSpeccy

    After what they did to Noah Carl, it is hard to recommend Cambridge, England.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  55. Anonymous[145] • Disclaimer says:

    Many of these tyrants will be stinking rotten corpses by year’s end. Not by my hand, just prediction of course.

  56. dearieme says:
    @res

    “The OR vs. BMI plot for whites is almost flat for whites from 24 to the upper limit at 39.”

    Thanks for that: it means that my campaign of gradual weight loss can continue – there’s no urgent need to accelerate it.

    There is a thought that has occurred to me, inspired by (i) the low figures for Covid deaths in SW England, and (ii) this blogpost by Dr Grimes,
    http://www.drdavidgrimes.com/2020/11/covid-19-vitamin-d-deaths-of-doctors.html

    Are British deaths from Covid more dominated by BAME victims than the media is letting on? Just as the Government urges the old and ill to “shield” because they are most vulnerable, should the same advice be handed out to BAME people, especially – say – chubby middle-aged South Asians?

  57. @dearieme

    Might be the case. Newspapers have reported the fast spread of coronavirus in Barking and Dagenham boroughs without any mention of ethnicity. I checked the figures for those boroughs and found the following for the 2011 census.

    the White British population has decreased from 80.86% in 2001 to 49.46% in 2011
    the Black African population has increased from 4.44% in 2001 to 15.43% in 2011
    the Bangladeshi population has increased from 0.41% in 2001 to 4.14% in 2011
    all religious groups have increased except for Christian and Jewish religions
    the proportion of Muslim residents has increased from 4.36% in 2001 to 13.73% in 2011

    The demographics of 2021 will probably reveal a steeper fall in White British.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  58. @dearieme

    Take away poverty, obesity (& related diseases) and the effect of dark skin is less than being male. There is a gradient. The darker the skin, the more vulnerable. It may be a vitamin D issue, so solvable by tablets.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  59. dearieme says:

    Steve Sailer’s current Taki column includes reference to “The late psychometrician Chris Brand …”. Long ago I knew Chris – that was before his determination to speak the truth as he saw it, and sometimes to speak it outrageously, got him sacked from his lectureship. I deplored Chris’s sacking. I suppose that means I have rather old fashioned views of what universities are for.

    Perhaps people will learn from Pinker and speak the truth softly and with a bit of squid ink blown out.

  60. dearieme says:
    @Philip Owen

    Fair enough, but the point of Grimes’s blogpost is that by focusing on the deaths of doctors he has already removed many socio-economic explanations.

    His belief in Vit D supplementation is surely justified by:

    Professor Parag Singhal .. and Dr David C Anderson … on this day [April 29th] … sent to all BAME doctors working in England and Wales a communication indicating that they would all be very much at risk from serious or fatal Covid-19 because of likely vitamin D deficiency. They were strongly advised to take take a vitamin D supplement in good dose of about 3,000 units per day, ideally after a single loading dose of 100,000 units, and this was supplied as necessary. … we can compare the high mortality before April 29th to the absence of death following May 2nd.

    Hats off to Singhal and Anderson. How absurd that intelligent action was taken by two medics off their own bat. Why was the NHS not onto this problem and this solution?

    • Thanks: That Would Be Telling
  61. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @James Thompson

    After what they did to Noah Carl, it is hard to recommend Cambridge, England.

    I am not familiar with the controversy over Carl’s work or views, but within the academic world, surely the correct response to what is taken to be a mistaken view on a technical matter is a scholarly article pointing out the error. But not at Cambridge, apparently, where Carl was sacked on the basis of a petition from 586 “academics” accusing him of “pseudoscience.”

    To make matters more confusing, Cambridge’s Vice Chancellor recently presumed to insist that students and staff be ‘respectful’ of opposing views, which, judging by the fact that they sacked Carl for his views, was hardly how the University treated Carl’s views.

    But apparently, this demand by the Vice-Chancellor, a Canadian, and thus almost by definition a politically correct intellectual light-weight, was rejected by a large majority of the faculty who held that students and staff must ‘tolerate’ views that they do not respect — a position seemingly at odds with their intolerance of the views of Noah Carl.

    I suppose, in the case of Carl, the faculty might have argued that they were not intolerant of his views, but of his lack of scientific rigor, etc. But if that was their position, they should have demonstrated its validity in the traditional way through correspondence in the scholarly journals.

    But in any case, there seems to be a lot wrong with Cambridge, including infiltration by the FBI and an engineering school where one ‘scholar’ claimed to have verified the pancake theory of the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, which is an absurdity inconsistent with Newton’s theory of the conservation of momentum.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  62. dearieme says:

    I’ve just seen, in our local rag, a report on the coroner’s inquest into what he concluded was a death by natural causes. It adds some colour to the cold statistics.

    The deceased was 84; he was reported as having “a long history of health difficulties, including multiple chest infections and heart attacks. He [had] also developed diabetes”

    “In February 2020, around a month before his death, his health had deteriorated due to his pre-existing health conditions and stents were inserted into his heart vessel.

    It’s believed Hillier contracted Covid-19 shortly afterwards”

    “The cause of death was suggested by a doctor as ‘1A Covid-19 with underlying causes and 2 chronic kidney disease, severe heart failure and frailty,’ which the coroner was ‘more than happy to accept as the medical cause of death.’ ”

    I’m not sure why the case went before the coroner but it was presumably because Mr Hillier was a prisoner.

  63. @James Thompson

    There are very few BAME people in the South Wales valleys which have at times experienced the highest rates of Cocos infection in the UK, especially Bridgend where I live. The worst affected areas beat Manuas in Brazil. Pre 1914 houses. Tightly knit communities with many blood relations locally (so more pressure to mix socially). Population skewed to older people. Poverty driven obesity. Transport heavily channeled along valleys.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @dearieme
  64. @CanSpeccy

    You have made your case very clearly! Cambridge have now decided to accept people with the B’s at A level, presumably as a way of boosting diversity of genetics.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @canspeccy
  65. @Philip Owen

    I agree that extended families, crowded housing, and crowded local facilities will be a powerful factor. It may be that obesity and genetic sensitivity to obesity (say at BMI 22 rather than BMI 25) is another factor.

  66. dearieme says:
    @Philip Owen

    How does poverty “drive” obesity? No doubt it correlates or you wouldn’t have made your remark. But drives?

  67. dearieme says:
    @James Thompson

    In just a few years time Cambridge will be flayed for the poor academic performance of these admittees, even though they will presumably tend to concentrate in what Cambridge students dismiss as “doss” subjects. Then the pressure will be applied to teach new courses in Grievance Studies where they can congregate together and be given first class degrees without embarrassing the dons in Maths, Science, Engineering, Medicine, Law, and so on.

    Or perhaps the dons in such subjects should use the Regent House to impel woke departments to accept the weak admittees: start with Eng Lit, boys!

    • Replies: @canspeccy
  68. canspeccy says: • Website
    @James Thompson

    Cambridge have now decided to accept people with the B’s at A level …

    Well, at least that way they might get a few non-conformists: people who think the A-Level syllabus is crap — as did my biology teacher who, as I discovered a week or two before the exams, had omitted most of the A-level curriculum from the work he had set for me. Needless to say, I did not get an A at A-level. However, on the one occasion that I saw my teacher after graduation and immodestly mentioned that I had graduated first in the faculty of biology with a first class honors degree, he merely snorted, “all my students get first class degrees.”

    In fact, at that time, early sixties, 95% of entrants to Oxbridge were from private schools, known confusingly to those unfamiliar with British jargon as “public schools”. Thus, my sister, a grammar school student (i.e., not from a public school), who scored four A’s at A-level, won a full State Scholarship to university, and who was not only, in athletics, Victress Ludorum, but also a fine musician, failed to obtain a place at Cambridge, whereas, many who attended Oxbridge at that time were dumb as a brick but, as “flanneled fools and muddied oafs,” had distinguished themselves (as did Boris Johnson) on the playing fields of Eton or some other exclusive school.

    Thing is, though, in those days, before Oxbridge committed academic suicide by taking government funding, the dons actually taught. Thus, for example, had I, on leaving school in 1960, studied English at Cambridge I would almost certainly have received regular tutorials from C.S. Lewis who spent more than 30 hours a week with students.

    That was the Cambridge tradition, that faculty actually taught. It was the tradition that enabled Charles Darwin, as an undergraduate, to study geology quite informally through association with Charles Lyell, whose revolutionary ideas and research transformed the subject and validated the evolutionary hypothesis.

    Today, such one-on-one instruction by the giants in a field is, I understand from young people who have attended Oxbridge, extremely rare. Rather, it seems, Oxbridge is mainly about making money with spin-off tech companies, and shoving PC garbage down students throats.

  69. canspeccy says: • Website
    @dearieme

    start with Eng Lit, boys!

    Nothing wrong with Eng. Lit., as long as it is taught intelligently. How I wish I had had a chance, when I left school in 1960, to study Eng. Lit. at Cambridge under C.S. Lewis, then the chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature, which he taught until his death in 1963.

  70. dearieme says:

    In fact, at that time, early sixties, 95% of entrants to Oxbridge were from private schools

    I invite you to document that – I don’t think you’ll find it easy.

    as “flanneled fools and muddied oafs,” had distinguished themselves (as did Boris Johnson) on the playing fields of Eton

    I am not an uncritical fan of Boris but I do note that he was clever enough to win a King’s Scholarship to Eton and then a scholarship to read Greats at Balliol. He clearly was not a fool when young.

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