Tag Archives: WHO

Just Saying “Haachoo”

We all get it, there is an overreaction at present, the overreaction (for the most) is people buying too much of whatever they do not need. So Saturday I saw a person getting back to the supermarket who wanted to return some of the toilet paper he had bought, I wonder if second hand toilet paper sells. He didn’t go to see if he can offload some of the toilet paper to his neighbours and break even that way. I did because 36 rolls is all they sold and 12 should keep me in shitty paper for at least a month, keeping more than that is a little excessive. My neighbours did not mind, they both paid their $5 and as such I broke a little better then even, I made $1 and created two happy neighbours. In my  case, 36 rolls was the only option. Yet as we see the supermarkets, we see empty shelves of toilet paper, tissues, pasta and a few more items. It is panic buying in a Coronaviral atmosphere, even as Coronabeer is not sold beyond the normal amounts it does.

Why is it overreaching?

I get it, we want assurances, yet consider the numbers. Around 170,000 people got it at present. Until last week, 93% of ALL cases were in China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. As such over 3 billion people got overly angst in regards to an optional infecting 1,000 people, that was then. Now we see that Spain (7,845), Germany (5,813) and racing to the top 6 positions France with 5,423 cases. We get it, it is the flu and this one is growing fast, but in the end, France is looking at a 2.3% mortality rate, which is still better than the 3.6% that is the global number. Italy with a whopping 24,747 cases see a rising 7.3% death rate. 

Now, I get it, it is scary, yet here in Australia, the mortality rate is set to 1.67%, a lot lover and now we see the stage where fear is more likely than not killing us before the flu will.

Yet the numbers show something else too, the numbers do not add up in all this. How did that one person in Suriname get infected? The one in Mauritania, Mongolia, or Gabon? There was one case in Gibraltar, but that person is now cured. We are all pointing at China, but the setting does not add up. There is even a case on St. Barths. How is this flu spreading, because all the information does not add up. It did for a while and now we see a pandemic and it is growing and growing in numbers on a stage that is not properly identified, as such the pandemic will only get worse.

For me I see one flaw, in all this there is no mention of Yemen, or Syria. I agree with anyone who states that they have enough problems, but this flu is larger than we think and these people need a lot, they do not need the Coronavirus to help a hand in killing them, yet that is also the larger issue. Two nations where the immune system is close to destroyed to bad water, no food and other means, the flu has a free reign in those places and even as the Middle East Eye gives us ‘Syria insists it is coronavirus-free‘, I believe that this is not the case and through there (and Yemen) it will spread further still. Beyond that, as we look at the numbers, the spread of the disease is largely uncontained as there are too many unknowns and as such when there is no containment, others will get infected, how? We cannot be certain.

It becomes a lot less certain when we consider the quote “Pakistani health officials said on Tuesday that at least five of their country’s cases originated from patients travelling to Pakistan from Syria via Qatar” as such, what else is being spread? And to what extent is Pakistan involved in the Syrian escalation? Because the last time I checked, refugees cannot afford a trip via Qatar, making Qatar also a larger target in other ways.

There is also the stage of consideration around “It was not immediately clear whether the infections could have originated in Qatar, where cases have risen to 337” (401 as per yesterday), even if that is a larger rise in the Middle East where, as per yesterday, Saudi Arabia had 118 cases, Oman had 22 cases, and Bahrain had 214 cases, the stage is larger than we realise because in a setting of non clarity containment cannot be reached. In all this, humanitarian help in Syria and Yemen could be spreading it faster, they have a better immune system and as such until they get noticeably sick they might be spreading the disease to dozens upon dozens more. and whomever they give it to, those infected will hit the mortality rate hard, they are malnourished, have underlying health issues, they tend to be dehydrated and have no way of keeping clean. It is a much larger stage that we cannot predict and it will hit every one of us in one way or another.

In all this, the mortality rate went from 3.4%, to 3.6% (last week) and is now set to 3.8%, as what stage will governments take the lead and have actual solutions in place? The fact that containment is not reached implies that whatever solution they think of is merely a non solving patch on a hole that hides a few other holes that are not patched at all. 

Am I exaggerating? 

Consider that last week 4 nations had 93% of all the cases, that has now dwindled down to 75.1%, the numbers and nations with cases are growing and we see no actual answers and no factual solutions other than post event considerations, giving a much larger rise to hysteria. and in all this the mortality rate does not add up. Globally it might be 3.8%, yet in Sweden it is 0.28%, in the US it is 1.83% and Italy wins with 7.3%, which is a lot higher than China with 3.9%, the numbers do not add up and the media is not informing a hysteria driven population, all whilst the guardian gives us ‘UK coronavirus crisis ‘to last until spring 2021 and could see 7.9m hospitalised‘, in this I wonder how spring 2021 is tested? There is enough doubt on the lack of containment, as such we have much larger fish to fry than ‘A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus‘ (source: NY Times).

The setting in any war and believe me, this is a war against the flu, we need to set the stage of containment, as this is not achieved we see that the flu will win in the end. Personally I am not fuzzed, I will be either dead or better employed, either way is a win for me, yet for the US government, the flu is not about the sick (at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/business/economy/coronavirus-response-wall-street.html), it is seemingly about the volatility of Wall Street. And as we are being fed “The Federal Reserve, in a drastic attempt to ensure Wall Street remained functional as volatility roiled even normally staid bond markets, said it would promptly inject as much as $1.5 trillion in loans into the banking system and broaden its purchases of Treasury securities. But neither the Fed’s actions, nor a plan by the European Central Bank to offer cheap loans to banks and step up its bond-buying campaign, were enough to assuage investors, who sent the S&P 500 down 9.5 percent“, we need to consider that there is a mechanism to keep wall street afloat, even when the sick are being denied that. The lack of containment pretty much guarantees it.

And as we are being given (in this case by the Financial Times) “Spain has followed Italy’s lead in imposing a shutdown on its entire population to fight the coronavirus, while France is closing all non-essential shops and restaurants” in this we forget about one small little event. If there is no containment, how does it help and for the matter of imposing self isolation for two weeks, will that actually solve it? Consider that the people were infecting others BEFORE the disease struck them, is the idea that they are still contagious after they feel better two weeks later that strange? Consider that on  December 4th 1872 a ship was found its crew missing, we used that event (Mary Celeste) in several weird occurances, yet the idea that a cured population becomes a Mary Celeste, is that so far fetched? In this Live Science dot com (at https://www.livescience.com/can-coronavirus-be-cured.html) gives us “Currently, however, there is no cure for this coronavirus, and treatments are based on the kind of care given for influenza (seasonal flu) and other severe respiratory illnesses, known as “supportive care,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)“, and as we accept the numbers giving us that 77,450 have recovered, can we be sure that they are not still spreading the flu? I am not telling you, I am asking, because I do not know and it seems that there are plenty of medical specialists in the dark. The quotes we can consider in the article give a larger rise to it and as such the over acting governments are merely showing that they are at best partially limiting the events of spread of the virus implying that the virus could last a lot longer.

There are too many unknowns and the fact that the numbers show that there is no actual containment, are my thoughts out of bounds? It is in that path that I see the actions of the WHO (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/13/european-countries-take-radical-steps-to-combat-coronavirus), slightly out of bounds. I agree with the language, but it cannot be connected to actions, actions require us to acknowledge that we know how to contain this and the numbers show a different story, containment is not reached and as far as I can tell, it was never merely a Chinese issue. It might have grown there faster and more radical, but the rest of the world got infected in other ways, and the medical world is staring in one direction all whilst they have no clue on the powers and the spreadability of the Covid-19 virus. It became a pandemic too quickly and we are now getting the smallest confirmation that the movie by Steven Soderbergh called Contagion (2011) was optimistic, it seems that we have to learn that part the hard way. In those days Manohla Gargis of the New York Times gave us :”“Contagion,” Steven Soderbergh’s smart, spooky thriller about contemporary plagues, is a paranoid freakout for the antigovernment, Tea Party age“, I merely wonder how she will react when Covid-19 comes knocking on her front door.

To support it we get Warner Brothers giving us: “the film ranked 270th in views in the company’s catalog at the end of 2019, when the existence of COVID-19 was not yet public knowledge. Now, it’s the second most-watched movie, bested only by the Harry Potter films“, it seems that the people are being made aware of what was out there and the fact that it is becoming reality will fuel more than a few wandering minds. We might all see this as providence, but it isn’t (at present), apart from the mortality rate not being on par, we have another consideration. It is the fact that there are cases in Mauritania, Mayotte, Mongolia, Suriname, Eswatini, St. Vincent Grenadines, Honduras and the Channel Islands, all with less than 5 cases, yet how did THEY get it? Containment is almost non existent and that is a larger need, when we walk the street we see 50-150 people, and there is every chance that up to 10 have Covid-19, up to ten in every street, that is the reality we face, not now, but in a weeks time? Who knows?

In a setting of non containment, the flu gets free reign, we have known that for decades, and often in the workplace.

 

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Mere numbers

Yes we all have mere numbers, and it is nice that some are advocating the lack of numeric connections on the news. Consider that we are being confronted with a disease with an optional  death rate of 3.4%, however the news is being brought like that is not the death rate, it is the survival rate. From ‘Murder inquiries could be hit if coronavirus reduces police numbers‘, to ‘WHO says coronavirus death rate is 3.4% globally, higher than previously thought‘, in all this we see a massive level of overreaction by all (including media), why? Lets face it, it is a flu and 3.4% in fatalities is still lower then your chances to cross the road whilst the crossing light is red in Manhattan, Regent street London or Parramatta road in Sydney. The overreaction I see is just staggering, even now we see ‘Wall Street slides after Federal Reserve makes emergency US rate cut‘, all as we see the numbers that give us “Coronavirus Cases: 92,880 Deaths: 3,168” and this is all before you realise the slight side factor “Recovered: 48,589“, so as the amount of people are restoring it and as we see a level of fear mongering whilst the amount of people not alive is a mere 3.4%, in addition, as we see the small realisation that in a group of thirty including me, i would feel that I was the one not making it, that is until I realise that one of the other thirty is Rupert Murdoch, which would make him the unlucky fellow, age is apparently a factor, the young have a much better chance, so there you have it, playing Russian roulette with thirty others and one gun, making it one out of the thirty not making it, and when you realise that a pistol has 6 options, we see the overreaction. Age is a factor, making it a setting where the bulk of the people will end up having to pay their taxes. I did have fun last week, as i was in a train I stated on my mobile (with no one at the other end) “I’ve had the sniffles ever since I came back from China“, within a few minutes I was alone in that carriage, that will teach people lo listen to other people’s phone calls. Over reaction can work for you, I learned that a long time ago and I do have a flaky sense of humour to boot (every now and then I should just kick myself).

Even in the UK with now 51 cases, the UK still has no fatalities, we get it, it is a disease with an optional not happy ending, but we need to realise that so far the death toll is a mere 3.4%, some nations have a larger death population by drinking water. When you consider “Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year” and you consider that this flu virus has only taken the lives of 3,168 people, the overreaction by others is just a little too much. So as we are treated to adjustment in interest levels and we see US rate cuts all whilst the death toll in the US is so far 9 people, we see a massive overreaction, and it is time to call the media and governments to attention. In the US Heart disease will kill 165,000 people, cancer 152,000, no one cares, yet this flu that has killed 9 shows an overreaction that is uncanny, it is lower than diabetes, yet we overreact, all whilst sugar intake is off the charts.

Caution and the wind

We all need to take caution, I am not stating that this is the case, but the overaction seen all over the media is just stupid, a disease milked for circulation through the use of implied danger, not shown danger. The best headline is seen with ‘Corona Causes Stupidity To Go Viral‘ (at https://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2020/03/01/corona-causes-stupidity-to-go-viral-n2562371), here we see “the United States has excellent care everywhere. While there is no “cure” for a virus, we have the ability to treat the symptoms more readily available than any other country in the world. And we also care to administer that care. Most of the rest of the world: not so much” for the most, the issue is spot on, even as we now see that the US has 9 fatalities, the media is all to happy about keeping people in the dark on the 3.4% fatality rate (at best), 

Still, we should not throw caution in the wind, yet between that status and the mediated one where we see “80pc of Scots could get disease“, all whilst no national numbers in any country show any numbers that could give rise to such a blatant form of miscommunication. I think that the danger of Scots becoming British nationalists is a lot higher, if you catch my drift.

Even if we for whatever reason ‘hide’ behind the numbers, we all take a position, the media as mostly fear mongering, the governments in easing whatever economic pressures there are and even me, as to the overreaction of so many others. A disease with a death rate of 3.4% gives a different optimistic side, my survival rate on most cardiac options I could get hit with is a lot lower than 96.6%, so I have a better chance to live longer if I get the Coronavirus, how sic is that?

China, South Korea, Italy and iran, all  have thousands of actual cases and there we see that ONLY China and Italy have a percentage of non-living that is at the 3.4%, South Korea has a fatality rate that is less than 1%, so 99% survives there, 32 deaths in 5,328 cases, as such Australia with one kill out of 39 is not in any danger of being an issue, especially as 21 cases have made a full recovery. Yet the media does not give us that part, does it? And when we see how it hits the places where poverty is a danger, is that because there are no cases in Monte Carlo? (fingers crossed), or perhaps it is because Saudi Arabia currently only has one case? 

No matter how we slice it, we need to sit down and take a sober look at the numbers, in the first it already is a pandemic, in the second we see the cold numbers give us that 96.6% will merely get sick and recover without dying of the disease. There were 4 flu viruses in the past, the avian version (1957) killed around 2 million, the manana virus (Spanish flu) killed 50,000,000. the other two killed a million each, this Coronavirus does not add up to anything serious, the numbers prove me right. There is a massive overreaction, especially when you consider serious diseases like Ebola, or HIV. Their death rates are indeed serious, this Corona event does not add up to much at all and it is time that we take that into consideration.

By the way what was the rate cut by the federal reserve when HIV became an issue? It seems to me that this is an event that the media, especially the financial writers seem to have forgotten (read: ignored). So whilst the media is giving us ‘Washington state residents frustrated over obstacles to get coronavirus tests‘, or even ‘WHO warns of protective gear shortage as global recession fears mount‘, in a case where we see proven that 96.6% will not endure any fatalities, the overreaction is clearly seen, yet the lack of governments making sure that all people realise that there is too much overreaction in the midst of a generic flu season is a little staggering. All whilst the headlines are spiked with phrases like “its battle against the deadly virus“, I personally believe that the fatality rate needs to be a lot larger than 3.4% before we have a viral publication of “the deadly virus“, at least that is my take on it, call me crazy, but a situation where a virus optionally kills 3,200 all whilst traffic kills 1,250,000 people annually is a stretch, especially when you realise that the virus could have been a mere complicating factor in several deaths, the elderly die for all kinds of non-natural causes, the virus is a given complication here, but there will be some debate whether the complications, or the virus was the killer remained to be seen and the elderly will get hit harder, no doubt about that.

When we consider the mere numbers, the ado about Corona becomes much about nothing, even if it does kill, 3,200 deaths does not amount to anything when we compare it to the lack of life through survival in Syria (Idlib, Aleppo) or all over Yemen, did you consider that?

 

 

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The defining moment

We all have seen it, we all have experienced it, yet what happens, if the definition does not align to what a government or a funded overreaching group likes? I am referring to those small grocery stores like the EU and the WHO, and should you doubt it, then consider the following part that has been published in several papers and online sources.

WHO mission director warns world is ‘simply not ready’ for pandemic, as well as ‘prepare for a potential pandemic‘. This was the news today, yet when we consider “A pandemic is an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide“, I raised it in the beginning of the month (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/03/corona-i-never-touch-the-stuff/) with ‘Corona?  I Never touch the stuff!‘. In that piece I wrote “there are now close to two dozen nations with confirmed cases. The one from Sweden is perhaps the most illustrative one. “The patient is a woman in the Jonkoping region of southern Sweden who had visited the Wuhan area of China. She sought medical attention after arriving in Sweden on Jan. 24. “One case doesn’t mean that we have a virus outbreak in Sweden,” said the agency’s Karin Tegmark Wisell, who added that the country’s health-care is well prepared to deal with the virus.” I do not disagree with Karin Tegmark Wisell, yet she was a carrier and passing on the disease before the patient knew she was a carrier, as such she would have been in Arlanda (most likely), then a train or a car with stops and for some time she was unaware that she was sick. There is every chance that she infected 3-50 people” in the meantime the disease has now grown the amount of infected in 20 countries (Italy, Japan, Iran, USA, Bahrain, Germany, Algeria and Australia) that implies a growth of the infected on 6 continents. So when exactly will the WHO (or the EU) decide that this is a pandemic?

All whilst the media is happy to report “prepare for a potential pandemic as the outbreak spreads across Europe“, this is a much larger issue, an issue that is bigger than the media, we are being sold a bag of goods and there are players who are too scared for their value when the ‘pandemic’ becomes official and they are willing to sell the world population down the drain to protect their profits (a personal assumption).

And now (as per 16 seconds ago) the situation is “total number of cases in mainland China to 78,064, and 2,715 dead“, whilst the new deceased numbers include China (the bulk) and South Korea, Italy and Iran. So when will it become a pandemic? I believe it already is and it is not the worst pandemic to face, this part we get from a fatality surpassing 3.4%, these facts are available (at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/), the fact that these numbers also appear in the Guardian (and a few other sources) validates them for me. 

Yet there is one nice epitaph to my consideration of Pandemic, it is found in Wikipedia (at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic) and gives us “Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu.” Yet it gives us a much larger setting too. 

With the header ‘Economic consequences of pandemic events‘ it introduces us to “In 2016, the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future estimated that pandemic disease events would cost the global economy over $6 trillion in the 21st century – over $60 billion per year. The same report also recommended spending $4.5 billion annually on global prevention and response capabilities to reduce the threat posed by pandemic events

That is an amount that scares Wall Street (and therefore the US administration) to a larger degree. The economic part we get from ‘The Neglected Dimension of Global Security‘, that document gives us a lot more too (added atthe end). Even as the preface introduces us (again) to “After the outbreak was recognized, the international response was slow and uncoordinated. Mechanisms for the establishment of public–private partnerships were lacking. For example, the development of lifesaving medical products was reactive, rather than proactive.” It is seemingly the smallest stab to the Ebola event in West Africa, yet the goods on page 23 gives us “National public health systems are essential components of resilient health systems and the first line of defense against the threat of pandemic disease. Robust public health capabilities and infrastructure at a national level are thus the foundation of a global health risk framework” and here is the first pebble that starts the avalanche, on a global scale the stage was to do as little as possible as there were no budgets, the US, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France have been showing larger failures for several years. Germany is not far behind, yet still in a slightly better position and the less said over failing Greek healthcare, the better (at present). 

In this environment a pandemic is a larger issue for the people in and connected to Wall Street as they need to be ahead of the curve and not trailing it. As such pushing the statement ‘We have a Pandemic’ back further is for them essential, it is at present more likely than not that the Coronaviirus will be seen as a pandemic AFTER the fact, especially after the greedy people have their profit ducks in a row.

The weird part here is that this is not a new issue, Pandemics were the focal point in writing as early as 1350 (Decamerone), films and TV took the subject as early as 1957 (7th seal) as well as several games on PC, consoles, iOS and Android. Enough people knew of the dangers that this issue brought, it even made it to the comic books, although there the setting was warped massively beyond reality as we know it (the Extinction Parade). 

In all this the references make sense, it is seen on that same page when we see “Public health objectives can only be achieved within a highly-functioning and resilient health care system with effective primary care delivery (WHO, 2008)“, a statement seen 12 years ago gives rise to the dangers that nations have brought onto themselves and those remembering that 12 year old statement are now not ready to answer the questions from voters when the ‘pandemic’ is made official, in a more healthy style we could argue that political heads will roll when that news comes out a little too soon to their needs. This is more true when one considers “both sets of capabilities and infrastructure are necessary to prepare and respond to the threat of infectious diseases. A primary health care system without the support of strong public health capabilities will lack the ability to monitor disease patterns and be unable to plan and mobilize the scale of response required to contain an outbreak. A public health system without strong primary care capabilities will lack both the “radar screen” to pick up the initial cases of an outbreak and the delivery system to execute an effective response strategy“, in all this China has shown a decent degree to deal with it, and as such we see in the Guardian ‘Expert tells nations to access the expertise of China and prepare for a potential pandemic as the outbreak spreads across Europe‘. The move makes sense, but the larger issue is not the reactive side, it is the proactive side and most of Western Europe is seemingly not ready. In all this Western Europe is the second stop as International travel is the highest there and what is in one nation could hit a dozen nations a week later, basically one infected person in an international airport could in theory be the global exporter on the spot. If Virgin calls a $130,000,000 loss and a large chunk of that is the Coronavirus, could it be possible that the $60 billion a year seen earlier might be somewhat optimistic? In that consideration look at Virgin and its size, with the fact that this one company is 0.1% of that annual number, and this is not my imagination. 

Only 4 hours ago the New York Times gives us ‘Wall Street Is (Finally) Waking Up to the Damage Coronavirus Could Do‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/upshot/coronavirus-wall-street-analysis.html), in all this, all the issues I filed over a month, with connections to reported issues 12 years ago and now we see: “there has been a strange divergence among those trying to predict what coronavirus might mean for financial markets and the world economy“, “People in the trenches of global commerce — supply chain managers, travel industry experts, employers large and small — warned of substantial disruptions to their businesses. And public health authorities feared that the disease could spread far beyond Wuhan in China” with the closing phrase of “financial markets and most economic forecasters projected the virus outbreak wouldn’t do much harm to the economy and corporate profits” where we need to notice that ‘corporate profits‘ was the centre of attention, as such we now get to live with the image “last Wednesday, the S&P is down more than 7 percent. And on Tuesday, yields on 10-year United States Treasury bonds fell to their lowest levels on record“, Wall Street is finally waking up having to reek the shit they shovel. All whilst the New York Times also gives us “if the virus becomes a global pandemic that causes meaningful pullback of commerce across major economies” it is the setting we needed to see, certain influencers do not want the claim of ‘pandemic’ to become reality, they are just not ready to see all their long plays become shorted stocks, the fallout would be massive for some players and they are not ready to adjust their economic game play. In all it seems that all over the world, medical centres are nowhere near ready and even as we admit and should realise that this can never be the case, the spreading of any pandemic is likely to hit all over the place and fighting one is not set to what we can do, but to what we can detect. It requires a larger proactive engine and as we see in the UK (NHS), as well as the US, they are lacking in proactive stages and as such, the statement of pandemic will require two elements the first is to find the real cases (any pandemic is likely to cause a panic in equal measure) and to deal with the real cases, it is there where we see that those running with a panic end up running into a disease spreading cluster (an acceptable speculated situation). 

When we see the facts and the situation where this had been going on for two months, CNN gives us ‘Trump claims coronavirus is ‘going to go away’ despite mounting concerns‘, as well as ‘Spread of coronavirus in U.S. appears inevitable, health officials warn‘ (Washington Post), as such we have a larger issue. The numbers give us that the US only had 57 cases and no additional ones since then, they only show 6 recoveries, so what happened to the 51 others? they might still be sick and more importantly there is no telling who the 57 infected, the lack of reporting there leaves a lot to be desired. That part is seen when we look at the CDC (at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html), here we see only 14 confirmed cases, now that does fit better with the 6 cured ones, yet the discrepancy of 57 and 14 is important, it also gives rise to larger clusters of people unknowingly affected. 

In all this we are still ‘heading towards’ a pandemic? I think the pandemic hit us all in the beginning of the month and too many are eager to hide (or oppose) that part and they hide themselves with numbers. In all this, we can argue left, right and centre, yet the definitions were clearly set and a paper with references to facts 12 years ago make for a larger case that politicians are too much in denial of the hardship hitting their lives, their welfare and their economy. A side that the Guardian reported on a week ago with “The coronavirus could cost the global economy more than $1tn in lost output if it turns into a pandemic“, as such, Samsung might end up seeing its stock shorted sooner rather than later, they did get help though, 1146 people with COVID-19 helped the forecasted need to short the stock, I wonder where those 57 Americans were and how Wall Street is optionally setting a different stage, one that has them seemingly unaffected by a so called optional pandemic that is set in China.

When these defining moments surpass the expectations of the people with stocks against the people with expected sick relatives, at that point will we see a first engagement of what Wall Street states versus the impact of the victims, the victims that could get not be cured in time because the proactive medical needs were numbered away by other means. Consider that against the fact that some of these white papers and warnings have been out for years, at that point reconsider the culling of funds in healthcare. There are too many related factors and they all survive as their test for ‘pandemic’ is not passed.

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Just like in the movies

Steven Soderbergh made an interesting gamble in 2011, he took a collection of all cast stars and wrote about a fictive disease and the issues that the would would have dealing with it. Today less than 10 years later we see ‘death toll jumps to 170 amid evacuation delays for foreign nationals‘, as well as ‘returning Britons could be kept in quarantine for 14 days‘ and many more. This morning I saw a staggering amount of people with face masks. All fearing what could come next. Steven Soderbergh was an optimist. 

Frances Mao (BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51290312) writes “For over a week now, the Australians trapped in Wuhan – many of them children – have been calling on their government to help get them out. But the announcement of a two-week quarantine on Christmas Island have given many pause for thought.” It is a nasty thing, especially for Australians and their view (as well as the UN view) on Christmas Island, a place where you go when you stop believing in any form of Christmas. 

For the UK (the Guardian) we see “Planners earlier looked at holding returnees at a hotel or military base. But, after an emergency Cobra meeting on Wednesday afternoon chaired by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, it is understood that they will be flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and taken to an NHS facility to be monitored and treated if symptoms develop“, the issue is not who gets treated and who gets flagged, the issue is actually all the people who circumvent the flags and who avoid scruples as they claim that they are not sick. In this case it is a much larger issue, most people become spreaders even before they realise that they are sick and that is a decently rare occurrence in medical matters. The fact that we saw Yesterday ‘The death toll from the virus has risen to 170‘ is only part of the problem. The optional fact that we see less than an hour ago the simplified facts that ‘the number of infections jumped by nearly 30 percent‘ as well as ‘China Now Has More Cases Than It Had of SARS‘ (source: NY Times) implies that it will not merely hit healthy people, it will be the foundation of fear mongering, which the movie Contagion showed was counterproductive.

And my case of ‘the people who circumvent the flags‘ was not academic, Japan reported 30 minutes ago that they had 11 cases, so how long until that one person overlooked has infected their whole neighbourhood? The issue is not fear mongering or academic, there is every chance that this is happening and there will be a larger issue following that. CNN gave a link to the Coronavirus map in China and it shows that it is confirmed in 20 locations ALL OVER China. This implies that there are in addition to this at least 5 more locations unconfirmed and optionally a dozen cases on the run (read: travelling) with no indications where to and how many that they will infect. And even as most will herald the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering for this map, how many are afraid to be on this map? Because their fear will propel the disease to healthy regions. It is hard to continue because of the fear that I become the fearmonger. I also want to be clear that my response is not as a critique on the China’s National Health Commission or the CCDC. the fact that we were seeing 6,000 cases (infected) on Wednesday and that we see a global number that surpasses 7,800 cases one day later gives rise to the thoughts I am having. Now we need to be certain that we also accept that there will be a percentage which are false positives, those with a normal flu, giving rise to a larger boost to the numbers. Even as I accept that this percentage is not to be speculated upon and that we need to be savvy of all cases, there is still a growing chance that people avoided being flagged and flew just before the curtain thinking that they were clear and that they would deal with their flu over the weekend. That is the stage we need to fear and the escalation of thousands of cases. 

Even now as we are told that Tibet has its first case, how many did this person infect? We see countries and numbers, but the truth is that there are cases in Hong Kong, the United States, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Finland, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. Each country where one person stated ‘Not me, I merely have a cold‘, that person will infect dozens more each day. That is how a pandemic starts. Let’s be clear, the term pandemic means an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region (including multiple continents). In support we should also see that  a widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. With the Coronavirus, there is still no vaccine, there is no cure and its growth is almost like wildfire because of panicking people getting away from this disease whilst they spread it, most importantly they were carriers even before they were sick, so fear was not the instigator. In all this there is one additional fact that the New York Times gave us “Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam and Japan had patients that had not been to China“, which gives rise to the fact that unflagged people were involved, or even scarier, as this started with animals, we need to consider that the issue is larger than we thought. It needs to be clear that this Coronavirus is NOT new, it was discovered half a century ago but in all these cases, it was animals that infected humans. In several cases we see the fingers pointed at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, yet Science Magazine published on the 26th (Jon Cohen) that ‘Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally‘, there we see “a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis” this comes from a large group of Chinese researchers and here we see “In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace“, and here we see that Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University seems to agree with the assessment, 13 out of 41 is too large a group to ignore. In my personal view it is not impossible that there is a covariant, if we consider that spreading happened before the personal marie celeste’s realised that they were sick, would it be possible that a busdriver was the link that was missing?

And it is here that we see the part where I went for and Science Magazine (at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally) gives us “the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan—and perhaps elsewhere—before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December“. A silent interference on data. When we realise this we need to consider and agree that this is not fear mongering, it is almost hard chiseled facts that lead us here and as such watching the movie Contagion a little late is not the worst idea to have. 

And it is that same magazine that gives us another part “Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019—and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January” a situation that slowly took hold all over the world and this is the stage we now have and whilst officials are all about positive influence and flying home the ‘healthy’ people, they will optionally be the group spreading a much larger foundation of the disease. I say optionally, because there are clear foundations for testing, yet it is Bin Cao of Capital Medical University,a pulmonary specialist, wrote ““Now It seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,” he wrote. “But to be honest, we still do not know where the virus came from now.”” and there is the killer in all this ‘we still do not know‘ in a stage where we are given ‘a common source—as early as 1 October 2019‘ that is the foundation that eludes many of us and in hindsight when we consider the international infected, how many escaped a flagged view and how many did they infect? That is the question that officials need to have (and they might), yet we do not know and whilst we are all about ‘How can UK citizens leave Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak‘ yet the damage is optionally already done.

I do believe that there is no solution in fearing and burning at the stake anyone who has a cold (I have a cold at the present) yet the foundation of fear must be stopped in any way we can. For the simple reason that ‘My anxiety is increasing day by day‘ is not merely a Wuhanian expression, it is soon optionally to be a global one until we can give rise to clarity on where the disease is and until the vaccine is ready, the bulk of all people will be gripped by fear, just like in the movies.

 

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Mental health or Medication

We have seen the premise in a few stages in the last decade and for the most people lean towards one or the other and that is fine, it is a hard choice to make and there is no real evidence which of the two is better in the long run. Mental health needs treatment, medication is at times not a cure, merely a way to create a timeline for treatment, or to minimise the impact of the situation. Yet there is also a medial state that is not mental health based, for example treating people with cystic fibrosis who have two copies of the F508del mutation, for them there is Orkambi. Yet, what is the status when this involves a politician? How delusional is a public speaker allowed to become before he is considered unhealthy and unable to perform his function?

That question came up when the Guardian gave me ‘Labour pledges to break patents and offer latest drugs on NHS‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/24/labour-pledges-to-break-patents-and-offer-latest-drugs-on-nhs). So not only is he making claims, he is basically pronouncing war on the World Trade Organisation, abolishing the TRIPS agreement and throwing it all overboard. As we realise that the World Health Organisation gives us: “As of February 2005, 148 countries are Members of the WTO. In becoming Members of the WTO, countries undertake to adhere to the 18 specific agreements annexed to the Agreement establishing the WTO. They cannot choose to be party to some agreements but not others“, the UK and the EU are both signatories, so Jeremy Corbyn is stupid enough to set a stage of war that endangers millions. To give a little consideration to the metrics, we get the numbers on Cystic Fibrosis, not merely those with these two mutations (a specific subset), we see that more than 70,000 people worldwide are living with cystic fibrosis. Approximately 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year. More than 75 percent of people with CF are diagnosed by age 2. More than half of the CF population is age 18 or older. Now this is not a good thing, we admit, yet we are looking to a population that is less than 0.001% of the entire population, more important the people that need Orkambi are a mere subset of that. And for the UK it would linearly mean that it affects only 0.1% of the 0.001% that optionally have it. That is his ‘limelight’; can someone please kick this idiot out of the Labour party (preferably out of UK politics altogether)?

And in the second part, no political party has any business being in the pharmaceutical industry, there is a reason why industrials should never have any political power (well, we lost that one ages ago, but still). His voice giving us: ‘party will create company to make cheap versions of drugs‘, whilst the metrics give us that it will be a population less than a 100 that have this version of Cystic Fibrosis that is what he is fighting for? He cannot even properly represent his constituency and now he is starting patent wars as well as a war with the World Trade Organisation on abolishing or severely changing The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)? Not only does it not make sense, the impact could be devastating for the UK. This is a person screaming ‘election’ and then spinning silent when it was offered.

It is my personal view that UK labour is better off getting the clown Ronald McDonald to do the Labour party bidding, and it will do a better job than Jeremy Corbyn ever could. His promises are no longer empty, they are now right-out dangerous.

Pharmaceuticals

There is a larger pharmaceutical issue and it has been going on for well over a decade, the issue that patents are reapplied well over 30 years after date, often in a slightly changed form, only barely passing the innovation line is the largest concern for generic medication, yet there are dozens of examples and Orkambi is nowhere near the top 10 in this. Lyrica (Pfizer), Rituxan (roche), Cialis (Eli Lilly), Xolair (Roche/Novartis), Restatis (Allergan) are 5 of the top 10 expiring patents with a value of a little over $16 billion in total, and those owners would like a little longer exclusivity, because the expiration will hit their bottom line in a real hard way. In that list Orkambi does not even stack up to any decent degree and we have larger issues gaining patents with a generic option and Corbyn’s need to make war with TRIPS, whilst the NHS has larger issues, especially as it was Labour who botched the NHS IT project losing £11 billion and small change to the degree of several millions is not one who should be casting voices on ending patents.

The sentiment is not wrong, but the chosen field is a little beyond stupid, making us wonder whether the man is personally dealing with mental health issues. We all have had that moment where we wanted to stand in front of Dwayne Johnson calling him Tinkerbell, not really wise, but we all have those inflated moments of self, to do what Jeremy Corbyn does worse hiding behind one 9 year old with: “Luis is denied the medicine he needs because its American manufacturer refuses to sell the drug to the NHS for an affordable price“, so this is not some Cystic Fibrosis case, this is a very specific case and the medication required many millions to create and pass FDA approval. A medication for CF patients with a rare mutation. With two specific mutations in a disease that knows more than 1,700 mutations that had been found in the CFTR gene. Orkambi works for patients with the F508del mutation in both copies the CFTR gene, the most common mutation in people with cystic fibrosis worldwide. So even if it is the most common, there are 1700 mutations meaning that his war on one medication to a specific subset that comes down to a lot less than 100 patients in the UK. So this idiot (read: Jeremy Corbyn) goes to war, promising to abolish TRIPS and leaving the WTO, all for a subset of people, too small to fill a village? Now consider that the UK has Pharmaceutical interests as well, the top two players in the UK are GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca representing almost £132 billion pounds, because if he does what he does, then those two will vacate as well, this is how stupid Jeremy Corbyn is, but he is hoping that you will not notice this as he is in feigned tears for one nine year old child. I only mentioned the top two, the field is larger than that, but Jeremy Corbyn is willing to throw it all in the air.

Can you please explain to me how the government budget will be met when two companies representing a taxable £100,000,000,000 leave the UK? This is the kind of short-sighted, BS carrying ventures that Jeremy Corbyn is handing its constituents. His claim is ‘In England about 5,000 young patients could benefit, but the NHS said it could not afford to pay the bill‘, if there are worldwide 70,000 Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients the UK cannot have that many, the claim of “US drugs company Vertex priced Orkambi at over £100,000 per patient per year” might be true and for 100 patients that is still serious money, but we need to recognise that we cannot hand every working person a Ferrari, we do not have the money, and it is that extreme. We are in a position where until a patent ends, the maker gets to set the price, or not sell the product. In light of the numbers I see, I want Jeremy Corbyn to give us an exact list of these 5,000 patients and what medication they need. I reckon that the picture shifts a lot faster at that point. And we agree that larger changes are required, yet making a direct case to the WTO that patents cannot be extended above the 35 years is a lot better than abolishing the WTO. Yet Jeremy Corbyn has no options to do that, so he comes with a delusional plan to start a company that ‘create company to make cheap versions of drugs‘, whilst there are plenty of companies doing that, the case remains that patents hand exclusivity until they expire, this year 26 drugs are facing patent expiration and yet, Orkambi is not among them, but 26 patents will become generic, before 2022 42 patents will expire and that is good for a lot of people, yet this system is already in place, we do not need some delusional politician to add his need to become a rich pharmaceutical cat as well.

To be honest, I have never had such a low regard of UK Labour ever before, the fact that I have twice the regard towards LibDems than towards Labour at present is something I never thought possible in the age of Ed Miliband, whomever thought that Corbyn would be a worthy successor deserved the title ‘Joker of the Year‘, as I personally see it, it is actually that bad at present.

So whomever is happy that this optional mental health case is running the UK labour party is in desperate need of some medication (generic NHS funded options will be available).

 

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Borderlines are not borders

Yes, that is the setting we seem to forget at times. You look at google Maps, look at the country/location and at times you forget that one country is not limited to the borderline you witnessed. Some will Google ‘boobies’ and ‘bikini’ and look in amazement on how good thing seem to be North of the border. Yet, we forgot that there is still a trap. That it is for the most an imaginary line. Birds never seem to see one and diseases notice it even less, so as we got exposed to Cholera this week, we see “RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed one cholera case and said three others were suspected in an area bordering Yemen, where an epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people, Saudi state TV said, citing a health ministry official” (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/saudi-arabia-reports-cholera-infection-in-southern-province-10727266), yet do we comprehend the danger that is evolving? You see, we can rely on numerous sources and accept: “Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae“, we seem to forget too often that ‘infectious disease‘, ‘leads to dehydration and even death if untreated‘. The treatment is actually simple. We are also given: “you can protect yourself and your family by using only water that has been boiled, water that has been chemically disinfected, or bottled water“, that part is important right now. You see, antibiotics ‘reduce the duration of diarrhoea by half and also reduce the excretion of the bacteria, thus helping to prevent the spread of the disease‘, yet the true treatment is Hydration and that is where the problem starts. Yemen is in a state of famine and shortage, so not only is there almost no water, there is in addition no way to boil that water, continuing a cycle of symptoms and a spread of the bacteria (and so the disease). At that point, dehydration becomes the killer leaving death in its wake and in Yemen that is unlikely to be mere dozens or hundreds; it will be killing thousands of people. So they are not too fearful of bombs and war slaughter, cholera is much more certain to kill them and do it at a slower pace, ensuring that suffering is maximised. So even as one case is found in Saudi Arabia, it is in my personal view running rampant in Yemen where more than 2,000 people have died of cholera at present and the estimated 5.2 million children that are in danger of dying of hunger, measles, or diphtheria are at present more than likely on the death list of cholera. Making the Battle of Al Hudaydah not merely an essential one, but making it imperative that it is won by the Saudi-coalition as soon as possible.

As we see the outspoken lies of the Houthi’s claiming that they are defending Yemen from a ‘US backed invasion’. That whilst they are knowingly, willingly and intentionally letting the Yemeni population die in the most horrible way imaginable, we need to wonder how much humanity we need to show the Houthi’s in all this. You see, the alleged Houthi in the image, an image merely 16 hours old (if the source it to be believed) does not seem to look that hungry, making the issue of who gets fed more important, and beyond that, if the Cholera treatment (hydration) is not made openly available Yemen could become the biggest graveyard in history. It is there that the setting of the Battle of Al Hudaydah is clearly shown and it is about to get worse. You see, as more and more refugees flee Yemen into Saudi Arabia with their malnourished and dehydrated children and babies, they will also push Cholera into Saudi Arabia. Even as we know that Antibiotic treatments for one to three days shorten the course of the disease and reduce the severity of the symptoms, and therefor lessen the dehydration, the setting is now also that there are sources that have given view that resistance against antibiotics have been reported, making matters less easy to resolve and therefor more water is needed to remain hydrated, and that is not even including of the backlash of other diseases in younger children because of the Cholera impact. DA Sack, RB Sack, GB Nair, and AK Siddique in their January 2004 paper in The Lancet “Cholera” give us the frightening part: “If people with cholera are treated quickly and properly, the mortality rate is less than 1%; however, with untreated cholera, the mortality rate rises to 50–60%“. Here we have the larger setting, you see cholera does not give a hoot about borders and now that the first cases have been reported, we see not merely the danger of the disease, we see the dangers that if any of these refugees would make it to a city like Khamis Mushait they would have passed half a dozen smaller places like Al Masgi, that is if they even maker it that far. For me 80 Km is a stroll, for a lot of others it is a mountain and refugees, even if given assistance, caring Muslims, giving them a ride on their trucks towards a decent hospital, or even trying to treat these people (especially when it was not clear that it is Cholera) might see a larger problem evolve. Even as we accept that Cholera is rarely spread directly from person to person, which is a good thing. I wonder how dangerous the disease is when we accept that bodies are working in a state of lowered hydration. You see the Arabian continent has dealt with water shortages for the longest of times. Over generations these people learned to deal with less hydration (personal assumption), yet in that light does cholera not become a lot more dangerous and could that optionally make these people more susceptible to cholera? I am not stating that this is so, I a merely asking (as I never qualified for a medical degree).

It also gives us the setting that as cholera cases grow, the issue around the Battle of Al Hudaydah will show to have a nasty aftershock. it will no longer be a mere case of humanitarian aid and treatment, there will be a much larger need to set up emergency treatment posts, especially North of Saada. In my personal view, a place like Baqim is directly connected to Saudi highway 15 after you pass the Saudi port of Warcraft, going directly to both Al Hayat National Hospital as well as AlKhamis Maternity and Children Hospital giving Baqim a possible lifeline for treatment, medication and most important clean water (food too). Even as we accept that antibiotics are essential for the younger children, the reported resistance against antibiotics might become a much larger complication down the line and realising that danger now is important too.

We need to see on how we can stop all the diseases but Cholera is now the most impactful. That is shown when we realise that the WHO reported in 2016 a total of 132 121 cases, with 2420 fatalities. We now see that with the Yemen fatalities, we get to report that close to 50% of all cholera fatalities were in Yemen, how does that go over with you all? That is besides the setting that Yemen alone will be likely the reason that cholera cases will more than double and if something is not done soon, with well over 200% additional fatalities, which is not a good statistic to work with. We can argue on where the treatment needs to be and i merely took a look at the map, yet the idea of getting as many children as far away from Sanaa and Sadah seems to make perfect sense. I am also very accepting of the statement “The WHO said on Monday the origin of the current cases was not yet known but the outbreak was not expected to spread given Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure“. I get that, Saudi Arabia has a good infrastructure and is equipped for matters like these, especially when you consider the Hajj and the fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is always prepared for that. Yet, when it is not a mere handful, when the sick refugees are not merely a few, but a few hundred, we will see more complications and moreover an increasing amount of people hiding in fear, fear of disease, fear for their families and fear of others after they witnessed nears of Houthi brutality. Setting up something sooner rather than later on the Yemen side of the border is becoming increasingly pressing as I see it and not merely for the cholera risks. Diphtheria is a much larger problem if it gets a foothold, not merely from the infectious of the disease, the fact that Diphtheria grows its population through coughing, sneezing and sharing water bottles makes it a much nastier issue. It is fatal in 20% of cases in certain age groups, and guess what, children up to 5 are definitely in that risk group making the issue bigger and even as it can be treated with antibiotics, the reports of resistance become a much larger issue at this point. In addition its symptoms are easily mistaken by non-medical professionals as merely a sore throat for too long making matters worse faster than anticipated. with the fact that it spreads easily we get the state where every day not acted is one that is basically too late and we have seen the inactions in this regard for months now making matters not merely worse, it sets the stage where famine is merely the final straw that could get the largest child population in history killed. So at what point did we think that indifferent from the 22nd March 2015 was a good idea?

It makes for the saddest epilogue of the modern era: ‘We merely did not care enough to achieve something in Yemen‘.

So when you see the news and you feel that the EU is doing OK as it talks with Iran via: “Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged European countries to take practical steps to keep Tehran in the nuclear deal“, consider that Iran is directly involved and responsible for this by making Yemen a proxy player, arming them and supplying them, prolonging this war, the last missile Iranian sponsored missile was fired by Houthi’s at Jizan city almost 6 hours ago.

You should wonder on how the EU could even contemplate continued talks with Iran under these conditions. Where was the borderline there?

 

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A sickly gamer?

The Guardian had an interesting article on Monday. It took me a while to get there, because I am intricately familiar with the subject and the issues. The name of the game is gaming, and in the article titled “‘Dangerous gaming’: is the WHO right to class excessive video game play as a health disorder?” has the interesting question.

So as we read (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/feb/05/video-gaming-health-disorder-world-health-organisation-addiction), which holds: “included “gaming disorder” in its draft for the next edition of its diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which is due for final release this year“, we need to wonder. In the first what constitutes a disease, when is something actually a disorder and more important, is it the first step in getting this label added to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5, with an update which is supposed to come out at the end of the year. Even in the academic field there is doubt, which Netta Weinstein, a senior lecturer in psychology at Cardiff University voiced with: “I just feel like we don’t know enough yet and we feel we know a lot“. This is merely one voice. This part is important, as we see the following that matters: “the WHO was initially exploring excessive use of the internet, computers, smartphones and similar electronic devices, but determined that the biggest concern was gaming“, in addition we see: “The authors write: “These features clearly have their parallels with substance disorders and recognised behavioural addictions, such as gambling disorder“. They decided to make a dangerous step. As I personally see it, they are comparing apples with oranges, dumping the load into a basket named fruit and walk away. That view is not just supported, by others; Nena Weinstein gives us (paraphrased): “we found very small correlations, if at all, of symptomology with broader life wellbeing. So we actually didn’t find, for example, that symptoms correlated with health directly. It might be that something that we think of as addiction is actually just engagement and enthusiasm“.

That is the part that matters, gaming is about engagement and enthusiasm, now we can agree that some people go overboard. I for one have spent 5000 hours (not all at in one sitting mind you) in the Fallout universe and close to 3000 hours in the Elder Scrolls universe, I just love my RPG’s. The fact that this comprised a total of 5 games makes this the best value for money ever. I have played plenty of other games, and they were fun too. The fact is that the world is changing in several ways, a fact that the researchers are also ignoring. I also like the opposing view given by Prof Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University. With: “The bottom line is problematic gaming. Whether you call it ‘gaming disorder’, whether you call it ‘gaming addiction’, there is a small minority of people out there where gaming has completely taken over their lives“, he has a point there. I have more than once gone so deep and enthusiastic into Minecraft, so when I suddenly realised that I was really hungry and getting tired, I looked up to notice that it was 03:50 in the morning and I remember the sun being up when I started to play. This happens, and it rarely happens, but still it happens. The fact is that the body reminded me and I did not ignore it. I was less positive about his remark: “in extreme cases some people have played themselves to death, though such incidents are extremely rare“, this is a case I remember, some league of Legend player, high on energy drinks playing 23 hours in one stretch. When it happens once, or perhaps less than half a dozen times on a population of 8 billion, it is not a case, it is an extreme outlier. We could in the worst case state that the proprietor had a duty to set a maximum usage of lets state 12 hours per 24 hours. Was that point ever raised?

Weinstein goes on in the debate on why few get addicted. Well, because there are many types of players and there are in equal measure many types of games. We can argue that in my case one style could lead to addiction, but I have a life with other elements too and even as I might spend a large chunk of my weekend on my console, I have lived for the longest time requiring no more than 5 hours of sleep per day, these days are now alas over (hence less gaming), but choosing the fun of a game over wasting money on alcohol in a bar, wasting it on fake smiles in a casino seems that I have taken a healthier life style. The entirely other side is that I even had more time in the kitchen, making my life even better by making myself a nice steak with a salad, a pasta salad or even a nice Bambi-burger or sourdough. I would not go hungry. My only little squandering would be to ignore my Nespresso and go to the Coffee place up the hill (roughly 723.4 metres) and get myself a yummy cappuccino, extra-large of course, sometimes even splash out and have a big breakfast there on Sunday. A walk in the fresh air, sunshine optional and preferred, good food, caffeine for the veins and after that groceries on the way back and the rectangular entertainment from console or Blu-ray, a life of relaxed bliss!

The package could be seen as addictive, gaming is merely one element in all of that. So as people then go with the mention of ‘all that gaming‘, tell me to just watch some TV. So how does that work? Constant badgering from advertising whilst you get hammered by two screwed up reality settings from places like ‘My Kitchen Rules’, or even worse some ‘married at first sight’, so it’s not that the divorce ratings weren’t high enough, we now get some reality TV show where ‘experts’ know what we need, want or desire? How fucked up is the TV nowadays? It is the second part where I oppose her view. With; “at least some elements of modern video games are closer to gambling. The newly popular and increasingly controversial implementation of “loot boxes”, where players pay real money for unpredictable rewards, is increasingly drawing the attention of regulators“, she only has a partial point. As far as I can tell, this was introduced in gaming by the Mass Effect series (I apologise if I am incorrect). You see, that is an option, but the game gives clear warning that you can earn these boxes by playing. Yet some people cannot go that distance. So like Ubisoft who allowed you to unlock all elements of Assassins Creed multiplayer for less than $10, people had no interest to unlock the abilities, they want it all from the start, a level 1 steroid character. So yes, you can buy chests for real money, but the ones I saw have always allowed you to get those chests by playing the game, it merely takes a little longer to get them. The second element that she is not lingering on is what is in such a loot chest. The loot chest is very much like a CCG (Customisable Card Game), each package will cost you around $5 and the 10 cards will give you 1 rage (or legendary), 2-3 uncommon and the rest are common items. So basically after the first 10 packages you only buy them to get the remaining uncommon, rare or even the legendary cards. Loot boxes work in the same way. That origin actually comes from a CCG game called Magic and was introduced by mathematics professor Richard Garfield and introduced to consumers in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. So, now as it is in video games 25 years later, now they want to regulate it? Oh please, go cry me a river, will you?

Yet Weinstein raises a gem of a point with: “concern about comorbidity (when a person has more than one condition): “We need to know that it is about the gaming itself, or we’re treating something that’s not the actual problem.”“, she poses an excellent issue. You see if we accept that gaming is escapism, knowing what it is escapism from, that becomes the golden question and that is not easily explained.

Prof Mark Griffiths brings another side to the table. With: “I can’t think of a single [case of] addiction where there aren’t any other comorbidities. The addiction is usually symptomatic of other underlying problems. If you’re depressed and therefore you drink heavily, then you treat that with antidepressants“, you see, in that view, if these people escape into gaming, they still might not have a gaming addiction, they merely escape to it and we see the dangers of a wrongful diagnoses. So in the time where the depression is not seen and as these people ‘are cured‘ by gaming less the depression could take over leading to additional harm and even fatality. The problem (as I personally see it) is where is the trigger, the threshold where ‘addiction’ is set at. It is a grey area that cannot be correctly quantified as there are other elements in play. As I see it, it too often relies on what others think is ‘too much’ and that is equally dangerous. The parent who grew up playing outside and as such, junior should be outside, not playing on his console. Do they realise he was playing with school friends in an online 4v4 battle? They are talking to one another on the headsets, so they are still communicating were they not? Our comprehension of several elements is shifting, as a gamer I see the shift, but the people around me do not (want to) comprehend that. It is icky, it is geeky, they do not care.

That part is equally ignored and that is a worry too.

You see social media made the bucket of issues larger, but the level of comprehension beyond using the tool has not increased. That is the danger, usage without knowing what it implies, means or ratifies. Consider the articles like: ‘5 Ways to Generate More Exposure for Your Content Through Social Media‘, to improve your personal PR, or ‘How to Scale Your Social Media Exposure‘, that whilst the people trying to grow followers and to be ‘cool’ have no concept of ‘engagement’ and the use of common sense for that matter whilst exposing themselves to all kinds of risks. Those people will happily sit in any ‘gathering place‘ and remain in negative judgement of a gamer. I remember a nice issue in 1996 in the UK. I was in a bar taking a rest from the ECTS (7 morning presentations on newly released games will do that), so as I was sipping coffee and nodding to someone I knew in the business. He was talking to some girl who was way too good looking for her own good. So when he mentioned he was into gaming, she walked away as he was nerdy. So as she walked away, she had no idea that this was the guy who just made 1.5 million pounds ending with 4 times that much at least over the 3-5 years that followed. You see, even as more and more people are no longer stigmatising ‘gaming’ and ‘gamers’, the issue is that most do it because it is now a $120 billion market and money is money, no matter how you slice it. The actual issue of ‘addiction’ cannot be set for various reasons because it relies on other elements on how you still function when you are not gaming. How you see the world when you are merely shopping for groceries, enjoying a movie, setting in a corner chumping down on ice-cream or engage in conversation with friends. Those are elements that matter and if you can still relate to non-gaming issues with enthusiasm (like how ambulances in Kabul are an excellent way to move C4 from one place to another), we might wonder about the scepticism in all of it, but for the most that person is still OK and unlikely to be a true game addict.

Wasn’t that what mattered?

You see, it is actually the end of the article that had the truffle that mattered; no pig was going to get that one! With “The significance of the WHO’s decision will depend on your point of view. Griffiths admits it’s “a vindication for three decades of research”. Trade bodies such as Ukie naturally resist suggestions that anything their industry produces could be harmful“, this part could actually become the invalidator to his work. Prof Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University seems to forget a few parts. In all this, I have been connected to games and gaming from before that. Gaming had several triggers over the last 30 years. First there is the arcade machines versus the home consoles (and home computers), there is an issue with any emerging technology and the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 are just over 20 years, before that it was all about home computers and the lasting time of a game was no more than one day of game time with only Loderunner to be a larger exception. Even in PC’s larger computers with larger games would be able to get finished in no more than 50-70 hours, and again there is an exception now, it was Diablo. Longer lasting games did not really get to the surface until multiplayer came out and it was not until the Unreal engine took off that people hid for a lot longer behind their computers (overly generalised). Now we can argue that those collecting games were indeed addicted, but were they? What data was there on them? I reckon that it was not until the sixth generation of consoles came out that we have the foundation for some level of actual addiction. Yet when we got back, we forgot the arcade machines. How much money did you pour into those machines? Was it to complete Donkey Kong? Was it to be in the top mention of Space invaders or Pac-Man? Does that make you addicted to gaming, or merely a person trying to pass time or dealing with OCD? I am not sure if I can give the right answer, but between generations 4 and 8 (1989-2012) the market has been in technological turmoil and that is disregarding the massive technological leaps PC’s had made over those years. I feel uncertain that with so many changes in a market that has not stopped running, how can anyone be correctly seen as addicted? For example, who would not spend their entire weekend finding the secrets that Tombraider brought in the first instalment? Who did not run to the shop (and claimed a sickie) the day that Tombraider 2 was released? Who did not drop their jaw the day Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots started on their PS3? That game can still hold up to the most that the PS4 brings to the table today. One view was: “The game has been considered one of the best games of the seventh generation of console gaming and among the greatest of all time“, a view I very much agree with. When perfection, art, challenge and achievement come to the table, the view we have changes, because exceptional quality keeps us at the screen. Just look at all those 4K nature movies Bing Lee sets on the TV’s they really want to sell, that’s not addiction, that is admiration/amazement. So in that all, I think that there is a case that Prof Mark Griffiths might not make the mark on this ‘addiction’ addition, there are just too many variables. And even if we recognise that an unhealthy devotion to games might be worth investigating, it would be to find the underlying cause to it all as Dr Netta Weinstein justifies. In that she is completely correct, so as we realise that Jo Twist, the UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) states the correct part with “We are very concerned about the inconclusive nature of the research and the evidence that WHO is using to base this potential classification on“, she could have (as not seen here) stated the matter a little better than what we got to read.

That is merely $0.04 on the matter (due to the FTSE Crash my $0.02 devaluated whilst writing this).

 

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