BIRD FLU.  If we don’t control our population, will nature do it for us?

 
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unsmoked
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25 August 2020 13:57
 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/03/12/the-deadliest-virus

quote:  “Those researchers have all of our lives at the ends of their fingers.”

Last paragraph in this 2012 New Yorker article:

“We can learn a great deal about transmission of influenza virus through the air from this work, and it’s something we know very little about,” Ab Osterhaus, the leader of the Erasmus team, said. “Nobody was going to make this virus in his garage. There are so many better ways to create terror. You have to compare the risk posed by nature with the theoretical risk that a human might use this virus for harm. I take the bioterror threat very seriously. But we have to address the problems logically. And nature is much more sophisticated than anyone in any lab. Nature is going to manufacture this virus or something like it. We know that. Bioterrorists might, but nature will. Look at the past century: the 1918 flu, H.I.V., Ebola, and H1N1. The Spanish flu took months. sars maybe a couple of weeks. This is happening all the time, and we have ways to fight it. So where is the greatest risk?  Is it in someone’s garage or in nature? Because you cannot prevent scientists from getting the information they need to address that risk. I understand politics and publicity. But I also understand that viruses do not care about any of that.” ?

Published in the print edition of the March 12, 2012, issue.

Michael Specter has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. He is an adjunct professor of bioengineering at Stanford University and the author of “Denialism.”

Then there’s this in the current issue of the New Yorker:  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/31/did-pangolins-start-the-coronavirus-pandemic

 

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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26 August 2020 06:47
 

The media and their cause as the cure bullshit.

 
 
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26 August 2020 11:20
 
Jb8989 - 26 August 2020 06:47 AM

The media and their cause as the cure bullshit.

Meaning?

 
 
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26 August 2020 16:10
 
unsmoked - 26 August 2020 11:20 AM
Jb8989 - 26 August 2020 06:47 AM

The media and their cause as the cure bullshit.

Meaning?

I don’t know. I miss you. Or maybe I miss me. Regardless, night guy.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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27 August 2020 09:12
 

Aside from the anthropomorphization of ‘nature’ in the OP, nature will continue to produce virus outbreaks - and crossovers will continue to occur.
At some point we, as a species, either prepare for them, or not. If we prepare, ‘lean’ economics will not work.  Hoarding and maintaining stocks of emergency supplies and necessary materials to coordinate a mega-population response will not work well under ‘lean’ management and fiduciary profit protections - because the very nature of stock-piling necessities is antithetical ‘lean’ methodologies.

At some point we (as a species, again) have to recognize and incorporate the proper infrastructures of civilization to be able to maintain it - rather than boiling every piece of inventory and infrastructure investment to the barest minimum viable product in order to protect corporate profitability, we may need to shifting to protect civilization’s sustainability.  As we’ve seen already, ‘lean’ doesn’t suffice in times of emergency, and can cause unnecessary loss of life.  (Something we’re also very good at overlooking or compartmentalizing away…)

 
 
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27 August 2020 11:44
 

For thousands of years these virus mutations that were able to jump from animals to humans probably wiped out a tribe, or an isolated village and then died out.  Now there’s the global village.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx7_yzypm5w

For example, New Guinea has 840 languages.  That gives us an idea how small groups used to be isolated and didn’t travel much.  I once read an article where an anthropologist speculated that for a hundred thousand years the human population on the planet was about 10 million. 

So now, how to deal with the fact that a person infected with a novel virus that doctors haven’t noticed yet can get on a crowded international flight? 

 
 
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29 August 2020 08:49
 

It seems to me that the rise and fall of diseases in general - including viruses - goes hand in hand with population density. Humanity has to shift it’s perspective and stop focusing so much on how to care and feed an ever growing population of humans. The solutions that scientists have cooked up in the last 100 years to support 7 billion people are clearly fraying at the edges, and most of them simply will not continue to work in the long term.

We have to stop this “go forth and multiply”, bullshite.

 
 
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29 August 2020 10:57
 

Considering that a pandemic wreaked havoc in 430 BCE from Libya-Ethiopia-Greece, it doesn’t seem like it really takes that much density to create conditions for communicable diseases.  Yes, there does have to be a certain amount of density, but even in the ancient world where 90% of the population lived in rural areas it still happened… kind of suggests that this is just a fact of human life and not a product of anything specifically that we are doing now.

 
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29 August 2020 23:29
 
weird buffalo - 29 August 2020 10:57 AM

Considering that a pandemic wreaked havoc in 430 BCE from Libya-Ethiopia-Greece, it doesn’t seem like it really takes that much density to create conditions for communicable diseases.  Yes, there does have to be a certain amount of density, but even in the ancient world where 90% of the population lived in rural areas it still happened… kind of suggests that this is just a fact of human life and not a product of anything specifically that we are doing now.

For directly-transmitted (person-to-person) diseases, population density is one of the important factors, but not the only factor. In addition to population density, the frequency of contact among members of a population, and the size of common contact pools and length of contact chains are important. These additional parameters are difficult to quantify without detailed research, so population density is used as a rule of thumb when calculating the likely spread of a disease.

Besides population characteristics, properties of the disease itself like transmission rate per case, are used to predict the spread of a disease. Of course, diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever, which are not usually directly transmitted but require a vector in the form of another organism, may not follow the same rules as those that are directly transmitted (of course, I’m playing loose with the concept of vector, because those effects conflate with the more general medium of transmission).

In ancient times, cities were densely populated even when most of the population was rural. Diseases tended to spread along trade routes, which tended to extend from one city to another like links in a chain. Epidemics and pandemics of ancient times are thought to have involved novel diseases or strains that urban populations lacked effective immunity to. So unless the disease is spread via a vector that has its own independent means of transmission, population density is always a factor, although the effect of population density will differ according to the medium of transmission (e.g. air, water, touch) and other characteristics of the disease.

 
 
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30 August 2020 12:08
 

In post #5 I mentioned the 840 languages in New Guinea.  Mountain villages were separated by impassable ridges.  I suppose a village could be wiped out by a novel virus that jumped from bats to humans for example, and spread among the villagers like our present pandemic, but then it died out without going anywhere else.

Today - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx7_yzypm5w

When I was a kid, we knew which town or region people were from by their dialect.  I never travelled more than 50 miles from home.  I was 10 before my first ride in a car.
(Although, with friends, our thrill ride was the front seats upstairs in a double-decker bus - quite a thrill when suddenly going down a steep hill - possibly enhanced by the driver knowing we were up there.)