Protect yourself

New York City workers cleaning what a new study suggests could be a death train/Wikimedia Commons


Evermore the evidence builds that the way to protect yourself from the potentially deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus stalking the planet is to stay as far away as possible from other people, any of whom could be carriers; avoid enclosed areas with poor air circulation; and get yourself fit.

The latest study underlining that these simple actions dominate comes from French researchers who looked at the wide variety of environmental, social and physical factors affecting the differing damage the pandemic coronavirus has inflicted on cities and countries around the world.

Global death rates for COVID-19 – the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 – range from a staggering 282 per 100,000 people in New York City to zero in Cambodia, Laos, and a handful of other countries. The study titled “Understanding SARS-CoV-2 propagation, impacting factors to derive possible
scenarios and simulations” found that face coverings have no apparent protective value and that disease hits the overweight particularly hard.

“We found no county with an obesity level less than 8 percent with a severe epidemic,” reported researchers from Aspire Technologies and Sorbonne University, joined by Lewis Mehl-Madrona from the University of Maine. 

Open space and fresh air appear to play major, protective roles, according to the study, which might help explain why Alaska with its room to get away from others even in the city has one of the lowest death rates in the nation for COVID-19.

Aspire is a company that specializes in data analysis. Mehl-Madrona is a medical doctor and psychiatrist whose attention after graduation from the Stanford University School of Medicine increasingly turned to the traditional healing practices of Native Americans.

His stated goal of trying “to bring the wisdom of indigenous peoples about healing back into mainstream medicine and to transform medicine and psychology through this wisdom coupled with more European derived narrative traditions” puts him somewhat outside the norm for American physicians.

Colleague Dr. François Bricaire, professor emeritus at the Sorbonne, is on the other hand very much in the mainstream. A member of the French National Academy of Medicine and a consultant to the French government on SARS-CoV-2, he heads the infectious and tropical disease department at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris and has long been involved in research on vaccines and a variety of infectious diseases from ZIKA to Ebola to HIV and tuberculosis.

Given that the latest study appears on MedRxiv – the Facebook of science where the vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 research makes its first appearance these days – reputations matter, particularly given that the French study suggests that if you think you are safe because the people around you are wearing face coverings, you’re kidding yourself.

Masks and lockdowns

The study, which compared the spread of disease across countries on a global level, found no evidence to indicate that either face coverings or lockdowns did much if anything to blunt SARS-CoV-2, but the lockdown conclusion was largely attributed to governments reacting too late.

Though it might, in some cases, have looked like lockdowns worked, the researchers concluded the reality was that COVID-19 had reached its natural peak and was already falling in many places when lockdowns were imposed.

“The countries of Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and possibly Portugal, Malta, and Greece peaked before any lockdown took place,” the study says. “Most countries that locked down early avoided a severe peak…(but) no clear trend existed for lockdown in terms of mortality.”

One of Europe’s hardest-hit countries, “Belgium hit a plateau of 83 deaths on April 4th with consecutively 70, 75 and 86 to start dropping on April 8th, placing the probable peak and turnaround infection period around March 16th,” the study says. “That places the turnaround right after public places lockdown and before individual people locked down.”

The numbers are based on a median delay between infection and death of somewhere between 21 days and 25 days.

“France hit its plateau of excess mortality on April 1st,” the study said, “which places its probable peak around March 12th and March 14th, after the ban on large gatherings, right before public places locked down, and four days before individual peoples were locked down.”

European governments were at the time operating in the dark, the study adds, with infections skyrocketing and “without knowledge as to where they were in the curve except for predictions from mostly faulty epidemic models.

“Looking at a different part of the world, Japan had no lockdown, performed relatively few tests (less than most European countries), has very dense cities and one of the oldest populations, yet suffered a mild epidemic that did not seem to rebound. Japan simply instructed its population very early to avoid closed places, large crowds, and unnecessary physical contact with strangers as a policy that could be applied in the long term. Could that have sufficed? Perhaps their relatively superior diet and health helped.”

Sweden followed a policy similar to Japan, but the Nordic nation has an obesity rate about five times that of Japan. The Swedish death rate of today is about 50 times higher than that of Japan and near the 57 per 100,000 dying in the U.S.

Still, the death rate in Sweden is only about a fifth that of NYC. The French study points the finger of blame for the horror in NYC and some other major urban centers at population density, bad building design and subways.

“All five hardest-hit cities were thickly populated and had a dense subway system (London, New York, Madrid, Brussels, Milan, Paris),” the study says. “Metro/subway ridership is often an indication of office concentrations in modern buildings with shut windows, possibly recycled air or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) where clusters may form. Both variables may correlate.

“Did metro mass transportation contribute to the high infection rate or was it office buildings or a combination (as there’s a high correlation between daily death count and cases count)?” the study asks.

It doesn’t specifically answer that question, but notes one key similarity between mass transit and most modern office buildings: a lack of fresh air. In this regard, the study underlines what has been known since Americans were ordered to keep their bedroom windows open during the time of the deadly Spanish flu pandemic more than 100 years ago.

Locked up with a pathogen

The pandemic has been largely driven by clusters of infections, the study notes, and “the majority of infection clusters occurred in closed spaces, which were poorly ventilated or ventilated, cooled, and heated through HVAC. Health care facilities and hospitals typically have HVAC as do most slaughterhouses, hotels, social facilities, discotheques, buses, schools, companies of moderate size or larger, call centers, and gyms.”

All of those were locations that recorded clusters even when people were all masked up as in fish-processing plants in Alaska. The study suggests this might be a warning that it is time to redesign buildings to provide for windows that open to allow access to fresh air.

“All five hardest-hit cities had a high concentration of modern office buildings and hotels with shared and/or a culture of centralized HVAC in office buildings, malls, homes,” the study says. “For most buildings, the easiest way to deliver outside air directly across the building envelope is to open a window.

“Window ventilation not only bypasses ductwork but increases outside air fraction and increases total air change rate as well. Administrators and building operators should discuss a plan for increasing perimeter, and specifically window, ventilation when outdoor temperatures are adequate for this practice.”

It does not appear that any governments – national, state or city – ordered businesses to keep their doors and windows open during the pandemic though there were strong indications before the latest study that such an order could help reduce infection rates.

This study, as with others before and one just out, notes the dearth of infections in open-air environments.

A “rapid review” of outdoor transmissions posted on MedRxiv today by scientists from the United Kingdom concluded that although infections appear possible in crowds “when the natural social distancing of everyday life is breached…for an extended period (say, for instance, in a crowded stadium at an NFL football game),” there are “very few examples of outdoor transmission of COVID-19 in everyday life among (approximately) 25,000 cases considered, suggesting a very low risk.”

The French study came to the same conclusion, observing that “recent manifestations across the world in countries with tens of thousands of people gathering with close contacts in a very restricted open air space with few masks did not lead to cluster formation in spite of massive testing further confirming contamination happens indoors.

“Most identified clusters happened in health-care facilities or hospitals, slaughterhouses, schools, hotels, social facilities, discotheques, subway/metro, buses, companies, worship places, family reunions, gyms (and) call centers.”

The study indicates these are good places to avoid unless well ventilated. Possibly so, too, closed motor vehicles. In Europe, where the Tour de France is now underway, the cyclists riding without masks in a tightly packed peloton that sometimes passes through crowds sometimes short on masks has, to date, avoided infection.

But Tour race director Christian Prudhomme, who spent the first nine days of the race riding around in closed motor vehicles with dignitaries invited to follow the race, is now in isolation after becoming infected.

Prudhomme has always been seen masked in public appearances and the dignitaries in the car with him have been seen masked. Those face coverings, it goes almost without saying, have been the subject of much debate.

Masked debate

“Asian countries easily wore masks and were spared,” the new study says. “Denmark, Finland, and Norway skipped masks and were spared. African countries tried to wear masks and took them off and were spared. Open-air music festivals and demonstrations on June 21st with or without masks did not show an increase in cases or the appearance of clusters within 14 days.

“Given a median delay between infection and symptoms of 5.1 days, depending upon testing policies, the effects of masks wearing should appear within five days and become definitive within 14 days.”

The study could find no connection between orders to mask up and drops in infections within that five to 14-day window.

The face-covering data can, unfortunately, be cooked in all sorts of ways to draw conclusions pro or con. A favorite study cited by face-covering advocates is said to report, as LiveScience headlined: “Hairstylists with COVID-19 didn’t infect any of their 139 clients. Face masks may be why.”

“May” would appear an understatement given that the study provides no indication the hairstylists involved were shedding virus, let alone in what quantities. All that is known is that they were infected. The study published by the Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) delves deeply into what kind of mask were worn in the hairdressers’ salon but never says whether any SARS-CoV-2 was found in the salon or in the masks of the infected hairdressers.

The study also concedes that “viral shedding is at its highest during the two to three days before symptom onset; any clients who interacted with the stylists before they became symptomatic were not recruited for contact tracing.” In short, the clients studied were those least likely to be infected by the hairstylists if the hairstylists were shedding viruses at any point, which is itself an unknown.

The French study notes that after masks were ordered in California, infections went up when they should have been going down, and likewise in Texas there was “an up curve in which masks did not appear to show any effect.”

Overall, the study concludes, “evidence as to (masking) efficacy is weak, and it becomes weaker when transposed into real life for a large population and raises the question as to long term effects of prolonged mask wearing in populations.

“Masks wearing, is a political, sociological decision. The data does not support that it’s being a meaningful factor in real-life conditions where it may actually give an illusion of protection.”

But the study did not wholly rule out masks, conceding that “masks may have a mitigating role in situations of high density with HVAC or travel on poorly ventilated public transportation.”  Then again, those are the sort of places people should be avoiding.

Rogue infectious disease expert Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, has argued that the illusion of protection might actually make mask wearing dangerous, but others contend there is value in the piece of mind masks provide by offering the sense that everyone is cooperating to try to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

And a recent study in New York concluded that face coverings were “associated with a 6.6 percent  reduction of transmission overall.” The same study, it should be noted, found that “interventions reducing contact rates were associated with a 70.7 percent reduction of transmission overall.”

By that measure, avoiding other people offers about 11 times the protection of putting on a mask and mingling with them. The above study, like most these days, was posted on MedRxiv and is not peer-reviewed.

The great weight debate

And then there is that weighty matter of body fat, something that was epidemic in many Western countries before the pandemic. Physicians in most countries have been telling patients to lose weight for decades now.

The advice has gone unheeded. The French study would indicate many who refused to listen are paying with their lives.

“For each unit of increase in obesity percentage, the average total death per million increased by 8.76 percent on a global average,” the researchers reported. “However, as the epidemic was at different stages in different continents, we decided to do the regression by continent.

“This gave us the following results: For each percent increase in obesity, mortality per million increases by 6.48 percent in Africa, 10.88 percent in South America, 9.07 percent in North America, 12.89 percent in Europe and 8.51 percent in Asia.”

Those numbers are simply mindboggling.

“In the presence of obesity,” the study added, “other variables (diabetes prevalence, smoking, age 70 years or older, life expectancy, population density) were insignificant, further demonstrating the importance of obesity as a significant indicator in the epidemic course. Japan, the country with the oldest population in the world, with very high population density, with no lockdown, few restrictions and low testing outperformed by most other countries, has the lowest obesity rate in the world at 4.3 percent and had minimal deaths (1.1 per 100,000).”

An English study has suggested a high level of overall physical fitness can help to trump obesity, but by and large, study after study has shown COVID-19 a significantly greater threat to fat people than the thin people.

Western countries have, unfortunately, been badly losing in the war against obesity. In the U.S., heavily advertised, calorie-dense fast food remains a staple for many, city designs continue to promote travel in motorized vehicles over encouraging people to move about under their own power and thus get some exercise, and streets have become so dangerous because of traffic that children are no longer conditioned to get about under human power by walking or riding a bike to school.

The obesity problem appears so well established that the French didn’t even bother to mention doing anything about it when outlining potential solutions to the battle against SARS-CoV-2 and possible future pandemics.

“Our simulations also show that in case of a new epidemic, changing air-conditioning systems to fresh air; reducing population on public transport; favoring some teleworking; shutting down large, closed gathering places that offered prolonged contact; and favoring open air activities could reduce spread drastically without lockdown side effects, and even benefit the economy because of investments, innovation, and a healthier population,” they wrote instead.

They also suggested exposing people to more sunshine could help, given some statistical indications that ultraviolet light helps kill SARS-CoV-2 while boosting human production of vitamin D which appears to have some protective value.

“Given the correlation to UVs and the need for UV exposure combined with the literature on the benefits of vitamin D on respiratory diseases, inflammatory diseases, and even COVID-19, authorities could lead campaigns to ensure their populations have adequate sun
exposure and vitamin D levels to protect in fall/winter from the common cold, influenza or a milder COVID,” the study says.

Some health officials have over the years suggested Alaska – which is notoriously low on winter sunshine and already has a significant problem with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) driven by lack of exposure to the sun – should have a state-mandated, midday siesta during which people are encouraged to get out to catch some rays, but that idea has never been taken seriously.

Going forward

With a second wave of infections now underway in parts of Europe, the researchers also predicted three likely outcomes for SARS-CoV-2 in the future.

  • “Best case – Herd immunity or isolation is successful in the southern hemisphere before
    October and the virus disappears” as a deadly threat there.
  • “Memory immunity case – The virus returns and 8 percent to 15 percent of major cities’ population (3 percent to 5 percent rural)  has lost its acquired immunity but can rely on memory immunity to produce quickly protective cells, thus reducing R0 (reproductive rate) faster and severity faster. That would lead us to a curve that is 30 percent lower in number of cases and 38 percent lower in severity if little action is taken and 50 percent lower in number of cases and 70 percent lower in severity if effective moderating action is taken.
  • “Seasonal case – The virus returns and 8 percent to 15 percent of major cities’ population (3 percent to 5 percent rural) has retained its acquired immunity thus reducing R0 faster and severity even faster. That would lead us to a curve that is 60 percent lower in number of cases and 70 percent lower in severity if little action is taken and 70 percent lower in number of cases and 80 percent lower in severity if some effective moderating action is taken. If these projections are correct, in the following years we would have experienced the birth of a new common cold.”The French are not the first to make the suggestion that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could evolve to join older coronaviruses now lumped among the many viruses that make the “common cold” common.

    “In all cases,” the scientists added, “we expect the next stages to be milder because of natural evolution, our ability to adapt, and maybe our ability to take reasonable, constructive, smart action.”

    Natural evolution is a given and human adaptability largely so. Intelligent responses are harder to predict, especially in countries such as the U.S. plagued with political and social skirmishes fueled by a media trying to keep itself financially afloat by selling fear based on the picture of a world populated with Hollywood images of good guys and bad guys.

    The French scientists suggest the situation in Sweden – where some media essentially accused the government of killing the many old people who died of COVID-19  – has been badly overblown.

    “…The effect of COVID on the population in Sweden where little restrictions were applied was an 8 percent increase in death compared to previous years, assuming all excessive death was caused by COVID and none by influenza,” they write.

    “The 2020 mortality from all causes was 0.48 percent. Within that, the over-mortality related to COVID was 0.04 percent. This is no comfort for those who lost loved ones, but as immunity builds, future eventual outbreaks are likely to be milder and more can be done to prevent

    “Over a semester of COVID in Sweden, where the population was recommended to be cautious and large events were canceled, but also where influenza seemed almost absent, the situation in terms of over mortality over a semester led to a situation 8 percent to 10 percent more severe than that of previous years in which there were influenza outbreaks.”

    Elsewhere, they argue, COVID deaths appear simply inflated. The data for France indicate an excess mortality of 17,691 people, but “this is lower than the 29,779 (COVID deaths) declared by France,” the study says.

    Even if all of that countries excess deaths are blamed on COVID – and not on intervening influenza or other factors linked to the lockdown (like not rushing to an emergency room to get symptoms of a heart attack checked out) – the study says, actual deaths are “still lower by 40 percent than the COVID-19 death total, indicating most likely a very large comorbidities factor attributed to COVID.”

    COVID-19 deaths have focused heavily on people with co-morbidities, usually more than one and often with one or more that qualify as a deadly chronic disease.

    In France, the researchers suggest, “comorbidities in COVID deaths counts…could turn out to be 30 percent to 60 percent of COVID attributed deaths.” Sorting all of this out, they added, will take time, but it may be that a lot of people at the end of life died with COVID but were already near the end when they caught COVID.

    “Having a longer look at history gives us a better insight into what happened in one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, but also one that displayed sufficient data transparency because of its structures,” they added. “In France, 2020 in terms of mortality was slightly milder, or comparable to 2016/2017, 1973, 1997, 2000 influenzas and milder than 1969, 1956, 1963, and 1962.”

    “This suggests a disproportion between the epidemic’s impact and the populations’ overall reactions which could lead to actions and regulations that are counterproductive on physical, physiological, and the psychological health of populations, making them fragile against COVID-19.”

    Fear fear.

30 replies »

  1. “The face-covering data can, unfortunately, be cooked in all sorts of ways to draw conclusions pro or con.”

    If I were you Dr.Medred, I’d leave at that and quit be a yammering con.

  2. Good assessment, if you work for gov’t. Gov’t has done nothing. The outcome would have been the same, the spike in NY and 4 other states were because of the negligence of the governors and I hope they are held accountable and culpable under the law.
    The studies do not demonstrate anything other than this virus is timed, just as is every other virus, transmitted as is the flu and no more so dangerous than most various of respiratory viruses–rhinoviruses.
    Masks are a placebo, the size of the viron makes them useless.
    Distance works, but common sense even better. One avoids the person coughing or sneezing, just as we do the flu.
    The gov admitted that both the morbidity rate and the number of deaths are the lowest in the U.S. Therefore, if Sweden, SD, PA, Holland, Denmark, Germany, and Norway are all maskless and ending mandates, why is Alaska persisting in continuing what is now perceived by many as a fraud?
    I am hoping that President Trump will end his emergency declaration upon reelection.
    If Dunleavy continues this charade, he won’t have to worry about reelection.

  3. I would prefer you provide a meta-analysis of what the body of literature says about the current knowledge about COVID-19. You seem to specialize in pointing to specific studies, and without any oversight other than “trust me”, I don’t find any reason to accept your word over the vast majority of medical scientists. It’s like climate change – you can quote the few studies that show no anthropogenic drivers or you can summarize the body of evidence that overwhelmingly shows anthropogenic drivers. The term “cherry picking” comes to mind, as does “confirmation bias”.

  4. Toast is a form of bread that has been browned by toasting, that is, exposure to radiant heat. The browning is the result of a Maillard reaction, altering the flavor of the bread and making it firmer so that it is easier to spread toppings on it. Toasting is a common method of making stale bread more palatable. Bread is often toasted using a toaster, but toaster ovens are also used. Pre-sliced bread is most common.


    Pennsylvania: Judge Rules Wolf, Levine’s Shutdown Orders Unconstitutional

    Breitbart News14 Sep 2020355

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — A federal judge on Monday struck down Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down, calling them unconstitutional.

    U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals.

    Stickman, an appointee of President Donald Trump, wrote in his ruling that the Wolf administration’s pandemic policies have been overreaching, arbitrary and violated citizens’ constitutional rights.

    The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”

    Courts had consistently rejected challenges to Wolf’s power to order businesses to close during the pandemic, and many other governors, Republican and Democrat, undertook similar measures as the virus spread across the country.

    Wolf has lifted many of the restrictions since the lawsuit was filed in May, allowing businesses to reopen and canceling a statewide stay-at-home order. But his administration has maintained capacity restrictions and limitations on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants. The state has also imposed a gathering limit of more than 25 people for events held indoors and more than 250 people for those held outside.

    A spokesperson for Wolf said the administration was reviewing the decision.

    Pennsylvania has reported that more than 145,000 people statewide have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 7,800 people have died.

  6. Sorry, but if all you Nervous Nancies weren’t wearing masks to protect yourselves from the flu and other scary bugs BEFORE COVID-19 made its (to many of you) terrifying appearance, then you’re just playing along with the latest political fad. The world is full of bugs of all types, and our immune system was designed to develop a resistance to them as we’re exposed to them. The numbers don’t back up the fear mongering. So why are so many of you still playing along?

  7. 500,000 residents forced to flee their homes in Oregon as wildfires (accelerated by Climate Change) ravage the West Coast yet the media is still pushing the “fear factor” on Coronavirus?
    I guess Nero “fiddled while Rome burnt”….history repeats itself, that much we know is true!

    • Simple explanation for California, WA, and OR wildfires in already arid areas. One thing is for sure that moron Newsome is just that, a political hack moron.

      A La Nina climate pattern has appeared in the Pacific Ocean, which could lead to an increase in activity during the ongoing Atlantic hurricane season and create conditions more prone to wildfires out West, forecasters say.

      In the winter, the La Nina phenomenon usually brings more precipitation and colder-than-usual temperatures across the northern U.S., with the opposite happening across southern states.

      “La Nina is not a good sign for the wildfire outlook,” Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh told the Associated Press, describing how it makes states like California’s winter wet season drier, setting the stage for dry conditions when fires start in 2021.

      • Steve-O,
        Yep,but its not that simple.Planned burns require $’s,lots of $’s.Crews(training),equip and materials.
        Now we’re talking warehouses,fleet management,
        Material coordination.More airial assets.
        Lots of room for private contractors and feds.
        After The War on Covid,we can chip away at The War on Fire
        But hard to make meaningfull dent in short order given current economy and congressional impass.
        Especially the reluctance on the part of GOP to pass a real fully funded infrastructure bill

      • Dave,

        I would suggest you read the article I linked to, fighting fire is a BILLION dollar industry. The reason why it is a BILLION dollar industry is because fire fighters fight fire. If we, as humans think we can control our environment, then we should control our environment. We have spent decades suppressing fires and building fuel across the Western US, and some of us idiots act like we are surprised that when we add flame to all this excess fuel we have massive fires. It’s really not hard to figure out, excess fuel=bigger fires. It really is that simple, when politics enter the fray then it becomes something else…climate change sure sounds like an easy thing to blame it on instead of decades of mismanagement.

        Read the article that I linked to, it’s from a leftist news organization and they still published it because it is so painfully obvious what the problem is.

        This might help you figure out what the problem is

      • Steve-O,
        Not arguing against any of your points, seems like we rehashed this perhaps last yr during the last fire season.
        Nothing has changed,a great swath of land west of the Cascades and Sierra’s is federal land.State lands are fairly sizable as well.
        But the states financial conditions since 2008 are already on a knife edge for competing services.The feds approach (which mimics AK state imo),especially under this president is to make it a states/ local muni issue.
        Last year we were strapped for new spending for fire control/suppression,due in part by continued legacy of foreign wars for oil, etc.
        Now throw in some Covid sauce, and a war on de-emphasing science, and what do you have?
        The problem with stepping in a pile of sh*t is you tend to carry it with you for a while.

      • Dave,

        I’m not a big believer in throwing good money after bad. We’ve literally wasted BILLIONS of dollar fighting fires we had no business fighting. To bring this back around to the subject at hand, saying we should fight all these fires is a bit like saying we should all wear masks…it doesn’t solve the problem, at all. There are certainly parallels as well with social distancing, we need to let fires burn in many cases when they are in remote areas while in more crowded areas we need to put the fires out. By saying we should put all fires out we are causing the problem to become worse, by saying wearing masks solves the covid problem we are arguably making the problem worse since social distancing should be the primary message.

      • Steve-O
        Again I’m not arguing against your point,AT ALL.Thinning and prescribed burns are expensive, thats why its done on very limited basis(liability).Most tree thinning is on private land(think Weyrhouser).
        It was easier and cheaper for the Forest service to cut research and forest workers(or contract them out seasonally).
        Apparently there’s some 4 million people living in the heavily forested western slopes of the cascades/coastal range/sierra’s.Further complicating the scene.
        The impetus for change I suspect will be when more small urban communities are swallowed up as was evident last summer in CA.Its so hot and dry that suburbs (wood structures)are burning/burned up.
        According to one report there’s approximately $125Billion worth of commercial real estate debt thats potentially exposed to a wildfire event right now.
        Gauranteed when the major property insurers get hit with multiple years of payouts, change will come.

    • It’s more about decades of fuel loading…

      “Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres.”

      “Megafires, like the ones that have ripped this week through 1 million acres (so far), will continue to erupt until we’ve flared off our stockpiled fuels. No way around that.”

      • Even Newsom knows it.

        On Aug. 12, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the U.S. Forest Service chief and others signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, that the state needs to burn more. “The health and wellbeing of California communities and ecosystems depend on urgent and effective forest and rangeland stewardship to restore resilient and diverse ecosystems,” the MOU states. The document includes a mea culpa: “California’s forests naturally adapted to low-intensity fire, nature’s preferred management tool, but Gold Rush-era clearcutting followed by a wholesale policy of fire suppression resulted in the overly dense, ailing forests that dominate the landscape today.”

    • Steve S – keep in mind these fires were started by crazy, bug-eyed liberal Democrats.
      “Four individuals — two in Washington, one in Oregon, and another in California — have been arrested for arson as firefighters battle dozens of blazes across the West Coast. One of the arrestees is reportedly a “regular attendee” of anti-police rallies in Seattle.

      Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, has been accused of arson, partially sparking the massive Almeda fire, according to the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office. Oregon Live reported that he has been arrested on “two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief and 14 counts of reckless endangerment”:

      • Dave mc , i do not understand your concept of logic. So at least 4 people were arrested for arson in relation to forest fires in Oregon and California. Then you say the fires were already started. Were you there on site to confirm that or are again making assumptions? I find your dismissal of steve o s careful outline of what creates fire hazards and how to resolve them uneducated at best and narrative forcing at worst . Steve o has some pretty solid science behind his hypothesis backed by forestry personnel and economic numbers. Your linking to ADN a clear propaganda and underpaid reporting news outlet is very weak at best . Your dismissal of Bryan’s world view by claiming it will be lessoned by a potential biden presidency is not logic its just a back handed put down . World view can change through education and facts . A potential puppet president wont change world view though it will temporarily make the misguided feel better . Are you unaccepting of alternative world view ? If it bothers you dont call that logic. Just call it intolerance.

      • Dave Mc, there are drugs for TDS. Love how you support Communism/Marxism. You’re a riot….cheers.

      • Dave Mc, I guess when enviros say “Global Warming” that means signal code word to set forest fires? Please don’t align yourself with psychotics. You are smarter than that.

      • DPR,
        I never dismissed any of stev-o’s points or views.
        Not only did i read the article.Much that we transposed to our states forest probs a yr or two ago,on this very same websight.
        But im familiar with many of the areas in CA that burned the last two yrs.And very familiar with most of the burn areas in OR,(less so WA).
        In fact a yr or two ago i posted a craigslist fire equip listing that i found for custom track mounted service rigs(from montana i believe).
        Large diesel and gas tanks with fuel hose reels and water tank.Push blade and winch.
        Somewhere i found the federal contract lease day rates.
        It was something like $3k/day,plus i think feds payed for for mobe/de mobe.
        That particular yr,it would have payed for itself on our fire season alone.
        But the real $’s were to be made outside,lease rates this yr are probably off the charts.
        My point grasshopper was that instead of proper forest management budget we got space rangers instead.
        For yrs forest/park budgets have a good place to raid for other projects.
        Plenty of blame to go around,more than half at
        The feet of the feds

      • Dave , thanks for explanation. You are against proactive fire control such as controlled burns because to you as a forest fire suppression contractor forest fires are money trees . Thats why you down play the science of forest management. Makes sense now . You are one step away from firefighters relations who start forest fires for job security. You are making a butt ton of money with the status qoa . You dont want thoughtful change like controled burns . Great job Dave . At least thats how you see it right? Even on years you don’t participate. Money money money. Ive known your type in the profession. Dont put it out for gosh sake ! Thats your next paycheck! Chaos = Money for contractors. dustvedanya gloopy devouska sabaca Dave. nyet? My spelling in English is bad but since you used nyet im sure you can figure it out. Its worse than calling someone grasshopper 😉All in good fun . Enjoy.

  8. It’s too bad that the “experts” haven’t had a clear message since day one that if you social distance it drastically decreases the chance of catching this and other respiratory illnesses that spread by breathing the same air as an infected person. There has been a massive political push for masks as the first line of defense when it should be obvious that personal protective equipment (PPE) is a last resort. PPE is designed to protect the user and not others, hence the term personal.
    Those who push masks and mask mandates claim they are to protect others, that’s just silly…especially when a mask is deemed worth if it is made from an old t-shirt or from a bandana. I wear an actual mask in areas where I can’t control the environment or people around me, like at the store. Social distancing should have always been the first thing mentioned as a way to protect ourselves and others, not an after thought the way it has been.

  9. COVID-1984 “Scamdemic” – check
    Seems as Covid deaths are dwindling the tracking is ramping up. For a teeth cleaning the want to check my temp and give me a Covid test. Sorry. Not happening. To play kids sports, not all sports, but certain sports you have to download an app and answer questions to get a green “flag” to show you can play each game or practice. They do this in China. They have a “Social Score” where an app shows your color – red, yellow, or green”. If you have green you can eat at a restaurant, buy an airline ticket, etc.. See where all this is going? Screw em.

    • Too bad most Americans don’t realize how many rights we’ve lost post 911 and during COVID 19………..

  10. The Medieval Black Death Made You Healthier—If You Survived

    But the clearest evidence that people were healthier after the Black Death than they were before it comes in the bodies themselves. DeWitte looked at skeletal samples taken from medieval cemeteries in London both before the plague and after it. She found that post-Black Death samples had a higher proportion of older adults, and that morality risks were generally lower in the post-Black Death population than before the epidemic. In other words, if you were strong and lucky enough to survive one of the deadliest epidemics in human history, you were probably strong enough to live to a relatively ripe old age. And since the Black Death was so widespread, that was true for the surviving population as a whole.

    Ironically, the plague did have some benefit. Plague survivors enjoyed a higher standard of living, due to a sudden overabundance of land and goods. Rigid societies became more flexible as deaths at the top encouraged upward mobility. A attitude of questioning authority and existing dogmas came into being, as a result of the church and state’s inability to contain the outbreaks. The plague is even credited for changing attitudes towards life and death, with the result that the wealthy became patrons of artists, writers and architects—the foundation of the Renaissance.

    I guess governors Cuomo(NY), Wolf(Pa), and Murphy(NJ) helped reduce social security and medicare expensises by forcing nursing homes to accept COVID 19 infected people,,,,,,

  11. There also seems to be a vitamin D component, as many of those that succumbed to the virus had low vitamin D levels. May be a chicken and egg problem, as the elderly generally don’t get out in the sun a lot.

    Good news from the SoA. Asked some questions about hydroxy. There is no state limitation on prescription or dispensing of HCQ for outpatient or prophylactic use, though they do go out of their way to poor mouth its use a bit. Cheers –

    • toilets are highly suspected as a point of spread. has made me wonder about public restrooms with no lids since the first discovery of fecal spead of SARS-CoV-2.

      wouldn’t it be better to have some of those “droplets” contained when everything goes swirly than to eject some into the air in a public place?

      • You also make a great case for UVC air sanitization in restaurants, bars and other public spaces. Sounds like UVC in restrooms would be a good place to start.

        One of the excuses for venereal disease was transmission via toilet seat. Never happened. Now apparently Wuhan does. Have we gone full circle? Cheers –

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