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McCamy Taylor

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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 06:05 PM
Number of posts: 19,181

About Me

Here is my fiction website: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccamytaylor/ My political cartoon site: http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/

Journal Archives

Need a plan to save our right to vote this fall.

Wisconsin should be a wake up call to us all. The SCOTUS intervened and as a result there were 5 polling places in a Democratic stronghold that usually has 100.People stood outdoors, exposing themselves to COVID for hours in order to exercise their rights. And Trump says he likes it that way, because the suppressed Democratic/urban voter turn out gives his party a chance to win this fall.

Trump's outlaw wannabe supporters would like nothing better than to see him close urban polling places the way they were closed in Wisconsin, limit absentee and mail voting and make voter turn out low, low, low this fall. Since the MAGATs love Trump because he is a criminal who gets away with it and because they see him as the Godfather of white privilege (stealing the labor of everyone else to line white folks' pockets the way the Yakuza and Mafia steal other folks' labor), they will not be swayed by talk of the law or fairness. They want things to be criminal. And the Supreme Court of the United States has one mandate---suppress the vote.

So, Democrats, time to play hardball. No spending bill gets out of Congress unless it includes provisions to enable voting this fall. If the Red States suffer from lack of stimulus money, they will suddenly put immediate self interest before dreams of pie in the sky by and by return to the day of Jim Crow when every white man was king even if all he did all day was sit on his ass.

And House, you need to launch inquiries (and lawsuits if necessary) to thwart Trump's attempts to line his own pockets with the stimulus money and "reward" his faithful Red State MAGATS with pork that they do not need. Because in addition to grifting, he also plans to make it clear to his loyal base that if they support him for another term as Godfather, he will make them rich. A lie, of course, but these poor fools will believe anything.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Apr 9, 2020, 06:54 AM (1 replies)

Some Doctors Do Not Know How to Read (More on Scary Steroids)

Was told today by the same urgent care that has prescribed short courses of steroids for my asthma for years that they no longer use oral steroids to treat asthma exacerbation. Because of COVID.


Here is the WHO position paper that is causing all the controversy. Note that the paper says do not give steroids routinely for COVID due to lack of proven efficacy and possible (not proven) harm.


Some doctors are treating this as dogma. An 11th Commandment. Thou Shalt Not prescribe Oral Steroids for Anyone in a COVID Pandemic. If they would just read the fine print they would see that the WHO also says

Given the lack of effectiveness and possible harm, routine corticosteroids
should be avoided unless they are indicated for another reason. Other reasons may include exacerbation of asthma or COPD,
septic shock, and risk and benefit analysis needs to be conducted for individual patients.

See that, Urgent Care! Asthma is still considered a reason for Prednisone. Unless you own a chain of hospitals and want to put all the asthmatics into them. Early short course steroids have been proven to improve asthma and cut down the risk of hospitalization. If you wait too long , then it takes even longer for the asthma to get better.

Here is the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology weighing in:

There have been several reports that steroids are contraindicated in COVID-19 disease, so many are wondering what should people with asthma do if their controller medication is a steroid (inhaled or oral). The short answer is continue taking your controller medications and do not stop them. The data suggesting that steroids might increase the shedding of SARS-CoV-2 comes from treating hospitalized patients with systemic steroids just for the viral illness. The use of steroids for treating other diseases (like asthma) was not studied. However, people with asthma are placed on controller medications to keep their asthma under control. In the current pandemic, the best thing a person with asthma can do (with respect to asthma) is to get and keep their asthma under control. Stopping a controller medication will put the person at risk for developing an asthma exacerbation—especially as we enter spring allergy season. In the current pandemic, treatment of an exacerbation will likely require going to the emergency department or urgent care, where the individual has a much higher risk of being exposed to someone with COVID-19. So, in a way, by continuing to keep asthma under control, the person with asthma is actually reducing their chance of exposure to COVID-19.


I was able to avoid the ER. I went to another Urgent Care, luckily a doctor I knew was working and I scored some Prednisone (gasp!) along with inhalers.

It is a hard, cruel world out there right now for asthmatics and COPDers.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Apr 6, 2020, 08:11 PM (6 replies)

Time for Young People to Step up and VOTE in 2020

Generally, young voters in our country our under represented in elections. This could be the year that all changes.

WASHINGTON — State officials nationwide are scrambling to adjust to stay-at-home and social distancing orders as they plan the 2020 voting calendar, and many experts warn that the pandemic threatens to be highly disruptive to this year's elections.

"There's a real possibility that people will be afraid to vote on Election Day and won't have alternatives," said Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Elections Commission who now heads the Campaign Legal Center in Washington. "That's just unacceptable for the world's leading democracy."


The obvious solution is mail in voting. However it is extremely unlikely that Moscow Mitch and Resident Trump will allow this. Their dream is an election in which urban voters stay home for fear of COVID 19, leaving only the deep rural voters.

I would like to propose another solution. Register and get out the vote of the nation's twenty-somethings. Yes, we know that a few people in that age group will have complications from COVID. However, their risks are much lower than that of their grandparents, the elderly who can generally be counted upon to vote in every election.

The future is now. This election will determine the fate of our country. We cannot survive another pandemic in which Trump fiddles while Jarrad Kushner sells off our supplies to the highest bidder. We cannot survive a world in which there are no jobs except for grocery store stockers. We cannot survive a world in which treatable disease will kill you because our health care system is stretched to the max.

If you are one of the lucky young healthy Americans with a long future before you, seize that future. Make it yours.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:59 PM (1 replies)

Public Enemy Number One During COVID 19

So, when Trump said we have shortages because some folks are pilfering supplies, do you think he was referring to this man?

"You also have a situation where in some states FEMA allocated ventilators to the states, and you have instances where in cities they're running out but the state still has a stockpile. And the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile — it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use," Kushner said.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:31 PM (19 replies)

Has anyone considered reusable PPE?

I am old enough to remember when surgical gowns were made of cotton. They were specially washed them sealed and opened when needed. Same for surgical instruments. Same for many of the things that are now made out paper/plastic and cheap metal. And this was in the operating room where materials must be absolutely sterile.

When dealing with COVID, the barrier function is most important. And then you need to be able to decontaminate the PPE so it can be used again.

Why not have cotton gowns? What about face masks made of something besides paper? What about face shields with scratch resistant/shatter resistant glass? Have you seen how quickly the trash bag fills up in just one COVID room? Health care personal entering and then leaving, even if only for a moment, must shed their gear. There are not enough trees in Southeast Asian and the Amazon to make enough gowns for everyone in the world who will eventually get this infection.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Apr 1, 2020, 07:22 PM (6 replies)

Some American Doctor are Now Treating Steroids Like Medical Malpractice Even for Non COVID Disorders

Not kidding. Know a couple of asthmatics who know that they require a short course of steroids to keep them out of the hospital who can not get steroids due to "Everyone knows" that steroids in COVID will kill you. I have heard this twice in the past week so I decided to investigate to see where is this general wisdom coming from.

It isn't coming from this study in China:


Conclusion: Our data indicate that in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia, early, low-dose and short-term application of corticosteroid was associated with a faster improvement of clinical symptoms and absorption of lung focus.

Critique:This was a retrospective study not a prospective study. Possible reason for not using steroids---only one major contraindication uncontrolled diabetes. Since uncontrolled diabetes makes every infection worse, maybe the group that did not get steroids had an extra strike against them and the steroids for the other group did not do anything. On the plus side these were all classified as severe meaning the authors did not compare oranges to apples.


OK ,here are some recent guidelines for COVID management. Note that the findings are based upon studies of SARS and MERS and Influenza, not COVID. Note that these are observational studies--that means they looked at people who were selected to receive steroids and compared them to those who were not. Now, image that a steroid dependent asthmatic got SARS. Yes, of course they would have gotten steroids. Lots of steroids? Could their underlying lung disease have led to a worse outcome? You tell me. The studies listed below do not.:

Remark 1: A systematic review of observational studies of corticosteroids administered to patients with SARS reported no
survival benefit and possible harms (avascular necrosis, psychosis, diabetes, and delayed viral clearance) (62). A systematic
review of observational studies in influenza found a higher risk of mortality and secondary infections with corticosteroids; the
evidence was judged as very low to low quality due to confounding by indication (63). A subsequent study that addressed this
limitation by adjusting for time-varying confounders found no effect on mortality (64). Finally, a recent study of patients receiving
corticosteroids for MERS used a similar statistical approach and found no effect of corticosteroids on mortality but delayed lower
respiratory tract (LRT) clearance of MERS-CoV (65). Given the lack of effectiveness and possible harm, routine corticosteroids
should be avoided unless they are indicated for another reason. Other reasons may include exacerbation of asthma or COPD,
septic shock, and risk and benefit analysis needs to be conducted for individual patients.

Here is the conclusion of study 62 above:

In 29 studies of steroid use, 25 were inconclusive and four were classified as causing possible harm.

Despite an extensive literature reporting on SARS treatments, it was not possible to determine whether treatments benefited patients during the SARS outbreak. Some may have been harmful. Clinical trials should be designed to validate a standard protocol for dosage and timing, and to accrue data in real time during future outbreaks to monitor specific adverse effects and help inform treatment.

25 inconclusive and 4 possible harm adds up to be inconclusive, not definitely will kill you.

Maybe the evidence in the next study is more compelling
Here is citation 63


We did not identify any completed RCTs of adjunctive corticosteroid therapy for treating influenza. The available evidence from observational studies is of very low quality with confounding by indication a major potential concern. Although we found that adjunctive corticosteroid therapy was associated with increased mortality, this result should be interpreted with caution. In the context of clinical trials of adjunctive corticosteroid therapy in sepsis and pneumonia that report improved outcomes, including decreased mortality, more high-quality research is needed (both RCTs and observational studies). Currently, we do not have sufficient evidence in this review to determine the effectiveness of corticosteroids for patients with influenza.

That is not compelling at all.

Moving on to 64.


Corticosteroids were commonly prescribed for H1N1pdm09-related critical illness. Adjusting for only baseline between-group differences suggested a significant increased risk of death associated with corticosteroids. However, after adjusting for time-dependent differences, we found no significant association between corticosteroids and mortality. These findings highlight the challenges and importance in adjusting for baseline and time-dependent confounders when estimating clinical effects of treatments using observational studies.

Hmm. So, depending upon which line you read, steroids either kill you--or they don't.

Citation 65


Corticosteroid therapy in patients with MERS was not associated with a difference in mortality after adjustment for time-varying confounders but was associated with delayed MERS coronavirus RNA clearance. These findings highlight the challenges and importance of adjusting for baseline and time-varying confounders when estimating clinical effects of treatments using observational studies.

And then 66 a paper reviewing the use of steroids for sepsis

Sepsis is a syndrome of life threatening infection with organ dysfunction, and most guidelines do not advise use of corticosteroids to treat it in the absence of refractory shock

Two new trials of corticosteroid treatment for sepsis came to differing conclusions

Corticosteroids may reduce the risk of death by a small amount and increase neuromuscular weakness by a small amount, but the evidence is not definitive

This guideline makes a weak recommendation for corticosteroids in patients with sepsis; both steroids and no steroids are reasonable management options

More (not) compelling evidence


In adults receiving mechanical ventilation who do not have ARDS, routine use of systematic corticosteroids is suggested against (weak recommendation, LQE). In those with ARDS, use of corticosteroids is suggested (weak recommendation, LQE).

Here the Lancet sums up all the ways that steroids with COVID will (not) kill you:


No clinical data exist to indicate that net benefit is derived from corticosteroids in the treatment of respiratory infection due to RSV, influenza, SARS-CoV, or MERS-CoV. The available observational data suggest increased mortality and secondary infection rates in influenza, impaired clearance of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and complications of corticosteroid therapy in survivors. If it is present, the effect of steroids on mortality in those with septic shock is small, and is unlikely to be generalisable to shock in the context of severe respiratory failure due to 2019-nCoV.

The word that jumped out at me was "survivor". I would much rather have a steroid side effect and be alive than die with strong bones.

It is going to be close to impossible to do a study about the risk/benefits of steroids for COVID. Those who are already on steroids when they get sick are likely to have asthma or be immune suppressed--increasing their risk for severe disease.

But please, can we stop punishing those who actually need their steroids to breathe by saying "In this climate, I am not prescribing steroids"? It makes it sound like health care providers are more concerned about not getting sued than about treating individual patients for their individual needs.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Apr 1, 2020, 03:06 AM (5 replies)

Can We Keep Giving Our Nation's Veterans the Respect They Deserve?

Little bit surprised to see a thread about how our veterans are over rated climbing up the charts at DU just as the National Guard is being called out to fight COVID.

There are many reasons to respect our veterans.

Being in the military service means giving up your civil rights. Freedom of speech? Not happening. It might jeopardize national security.

OSHA and a safe workplace? That is strictly "Need to know." If it makes our nation's security even one iota weaker in the eyes of even one military expert you will never find out what chemicals you were exposed to when you served.

Mother-child bond? Father-child bond? Fiance-fiance bond? Country comes first.

If your superior officer tells you to push the button and launch the bomb, you do not get to try to decide how many innocent children might be hit. You are expected to do your job. Imagine the kind of moral crisis that can cause.

Not to mention if you are told "You are on point" you cannot contact your union rep and say "But I need better gear." If you showers electrocute you, then your only option is not to shower. If you are stationed in a country where you allies sexual harass and even rape you, you are expected to keep your mouth shut for the greater safety and good of the military alliance.

People who sign up to serve and who compete their services and get an honorable discharge have made sacrifices that most Americans would never be able to make. How many of you out there would be willing to let someone else make all your decisions for you? Where you sleep, what you eat, how your train? How many would allow yourself to be stationed in some of the most dangerous places on earth?

There are very good reasons why the usual laws do not apply when it comes to war. War is not the natural state of a society. All the rules are upended. And the people who serve are like Alice thrust into a very dangerous Wonderland. They did it for you and me, so we would not have to.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Mar 28, 2020, 08:57 PM (14 replies)

Sleep (yes) and Melatonin (maybe) to Balance the Immune System

Since I am a physician who also has a Masters Public Health, I am going to try to keep up with the article showing up in journals and also try to analyze them in a way that folks without this training may find useful. I am not advocating any particular treatments (unless a prospective double blind trial shows good results and there will be no prospective double blind trials coming out in the next few weeks on COVID because it is just not possible to do them)

The article below is a discussion rather than the results of a clinical trial but it is worth reading especially if you consider the natural course of melatonin production in humans is a graph that looks like this:

Here is the article:


Here is the abstract:
This article summarizes the likely benefits of melatonin in the attenuation of COVID-19 based on its putative pathogenesis. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has become a pandemic with tens of thousands of infected patients. Based on clinical features, pathology, the pathogenesis of acute respiratory disorder induced by either highly homogenous coronaviruses or other pathogens, the evidence suggests that excessive inflammation, oxidation, and an exaggerated immune response very likely contribute to COVID-19 pathology. This leads to a cytokine storm and subsequent progression to acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and often death. Melatonin, a well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative molecule, is protective against ALI/ARDS caused by viral and other pathogens. Melatonin is effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Notably, melatonin has a high safety profile. There is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases and would also likely be beneficial in COVID-19 patients. Additional experiments and clinical studies are required to confirm this speculation.

This is not a study result. However if you read through the text there are some interesting points made about how melatonin has been shown to reduce CNS and nerve damage in lab rats given certain viral infections. And COVID appears to be an RNA virus that affects the central nervous system via the olfactory nerve which is adjacent to the nose and therefore a site where viruses can easily enter the brain.

There are also human studies showing that melatonin may decrease the level of cytokines and inflammation in people with other disease.

Although there is obviously no report related to the use of melatonin in COVID-19 patients, in subjects with other diseases and an increased level of inflammation, the application of melatonin showed promising results regarding the attenuation of circulating cytokines levels. In a randomized controlled trial, 8-week oral intake of 6 mg/d melatonin caused a significant decrease in serum levels of IL-6, TNF-α and hs-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in patients with diabetes mellitus and periodontitis [56]. In another trial of patients suffering with severe multiple sclerosis, orally 25 mg/d of melatonin for 6 months also promoted a significant reduction in serum concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β and lipoperoxides [57]. In the acute phase of inflammation, including during surgical stress [58], brain reperfusion [59], and coronary artery reperfusion [60], melatonin intake of 10 mg/d, 6 mg/d and 5 mg/d of melatonin for less than 5 days induced a reduced level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. A recent meta-analysis of a total of 22 randomized controlled trials suggested that a supplementary use of melatonin is associated with a significant reduction of TNF-α and IL-6 level [61]. This clinical evidence suggests that the use of melatonin as a supplement may effectively reduce the levels of circulating cytokines, and may potentially also lower pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in COVID-19 patients.

This goes along with something I have been thinking. Youth does not necessarily protect us from new viruses. A disproportionate number of young people died from the 1918 flu pandemic.


However something appears to be protecting younger people from COVID 19's worst effects. Could it be a hormone that is present in higher levels in young people? Might not be melatonin. There are many hormones that vary by age.

Note that the doses used in the human test above are not huge. 3 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg. These are the usual recommended doses for normal function. The goal is not to kill the virus with melatonin. The goal is to achieve a pattern of sleep (which affects on the immune system) as much like that as a young person as possible. You are looking for normal.

Along these same lines, sleep hygiene--getting enough rest at the same time every day while limiting things which can affect sleep architecture (like alcohol and stimulants before bedtime) limiting things that can cause you to reflux in your sleep (like eating before bedtime, lying down flat on your back after eating) and using your sleep apnea treatment might also bolster the immune system.

Had to search long and hard for a review of sleep and in the immune system that is not behind a pay for view wall. Thank you NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) for sharing this one.


Inflammation modulates sleep and the effects of sleep loss and conversely sleep or sleep loss alters inflammatory responses including the production of inflammation regulatory substances activated by neuronal/glial use and immunologic pathogen recognition

PS: For those that want advanced reading, this is a fascinating study about how RNA viruses (like COVID) work in the immune system. Notice that some of them have a biphasic pattern. They do one thing in the initial infection and then later act differently. Full PDF available thanks to ncbi

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Mar 28, 2020, 05:36 PM (10 replies)

Advice from a Doctor at Home (Test Pending): Don't Aspirate!

Test is not back and there is a 40% chance that even if I have COVID the test will not show it, but I am pretty sure that this must be COVID due to 1) worst cough ever (no lung disease history) 2) low oxygen saturation ( no lung disease history) 3) started with low grade fever and chills, not the high fever of flu 4) fatigue but no severe body aches of the type that comes with flu 5) gradual onset over 12-24 hours (flu is fast) 6) my sense of smell is shot, cannot smell the wisteria, COKE is just sugar water and 7) work at a health care clinic in a large metropolitan area where lots of people walk in with respiratory stuff and where we do not have PPE (except for a face mask I reuse time after time) because face it, no one in the industry has it now.

Anyway, this is anecdotal, may not apply to everyone. Think of it as a case study.

I have stopped eating any solid food, especially solid food with lots of little bits of hard stuff in it like rice, nuts, pepper, crumbs due to every time I do, I spend 15 minutes painfully trying to bring it back up from my airway like a cat coughing up hairballs. No matter how carefully I chew food with lots of little bits, some of it gets into my trachea without me being aware of it and then that triggers a cough reflex from hell.

I have also forced myself to remain sitting or standing after eating even my soft/mechanical mostly liquid diet because if I try to lie back at even a 45 degree angle, I start drowning. And the scary thing is I am not aware of having reflux. I have lost that sensation of taste at the back of my mouth when food tries to come back up. I notice the gastric contents adhering to my airway when I start to gurgle and cough. Then I have to stand up and go gargle and cough and gargle some more to get the slimy stuff off so I am can breathe.

Edited due to almost forget 3) I sleep on a wedge pillow to keep my airway higher than my stomach (less chance of aspiration) and 4) I have given up cough drops--don't need to numb up my throat more than it already is.

Why am I unable to direct the food down the correct passage--the esophagus? I dunno. Might have something to do with the fact that my airway from the back of my mouth down to my throat feels like it has been coating in menthol. It is numb. Why can't I feel myself reflux? Might be the same thing.

COVID is thought to cause a loss of olfactory (smell sensation) due to the virus goes through the top of the nose directly into the olfactory (smell) area of the brain. If it can do that, why can't it affect the nerves that allow us to detect food and liquid as they pass down the back of the throat? Swallowing is one of the most dangerous things that air breathing animals do. We have to keep the food in the GI tract and the air in the respiratory tract--even though they both use the same exit ramp to get to their two respective destinations.

The variable affects of COVID could, in part, be due to loss of airway protection. If people aspirate food or gastric contents they could be setting up lots of little pneumonias.

Here is what the Ct scan looks like in people with chronic aspiration pneumonia

Atelectasis, centrilobular nodules, bronchiolectasis, consolidation and ground-glass opacities occurred more frequently in patients with aspiration than in those without aspiration, with a pronounced tendency for distribution in the lower lobes.


Here is what a COVID chest CT scan looks like

Known features of COVID-19 on initial CT include bilateral multilobar ground-glass opacification (GGO) with a peripheral or posterior distribution, mainly in the lower lobes and less frequently within the right middle lobe. Atypical initial imaging presentation of consolidative opacities superimposed on GGO may be found in a smaller number of cases, mainly in the elderly population. Septal thickening, bronchiectasis, pleural thickening, and subpleural involvement are some of the less common findings, mainly in the later stages of the disease.

Read More: https://www.ajronline.org/doi/full/10.2214/AJR.20.23034

If you are curious about what all these CT scan findings look like here is an article with pictures.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Mar 27, 2020, 06:57 PM (40 replies)

Begin at the Beginning: The Malayan Pangolin Hypothesis

How do you begin at the beginning if you do not know where the beginning is? You speculate. You check various bits of data, cross reference them with other bits of data and then you come up with a hypothesis. After doing the research for this, I am convinced that COVID 19 is the result of our mismanagement of tropical forests. I also have a hunch that the tropical forests in question might be on Borneo (but a hunch is not a hypothesis)

Here is a quick refresher on the origins of RNA viruses that infect humans:


An important point: the ability to infect humans and the ability to be transmitted from human to human are two separate things, i.e. going from Level 2 to Level 3. There are whole lot more Level 2 than Level 3. And there is a stage beyond Level 3. It is not enough to simply be transmissible human to human. You have to have a perfect situation to transmit enough of the virus if you want to reach Level 4—and epidemic.

“Level 4 corresponds to the ability to transmit sufficiently well that the virus can invade human populations, causing epidemics and/or establishing itself as an endemic human pathogen. In epidemiological parlance this corresponds to the condition that R0 is greater than one within the human population, where R0 is the basic reproduction number, defined as the number of secondary cases generated by a single primary case introduced into a large population of naïve hosts. In contrast, Level 3 viruses have an R0 of less than one in humans, which implies that although self-limiting outbreaks are possible, the infection cannot “take off” and cause a major epidemic. Although R0 is partly determined by the transmissibility of the virus, it is also a function of the behaviour and demography of the human host population; for example, changes in living conditions, travel patterns, sexual behaviour (for sexually-transmitted viruses) can all greatly influence R0. This argument is reflected in the term “crowd diseases”, which implies that certain human viruses (and other pathogens) could only become established once critical host population densities had been reached [10]. Our best estimate is that there are 47 Level 4 RNA virus species in humans “

Since labs all across the world including China typically retain serum and tissue samples of people who have died of unknown causes, it ought to be possible to trace the current COVID 19 epidemic back to a source. Maybe it killed someone before the first known victim who shopped in the Wuhan Seafood Market where more than just seafood was sold


Note that since there is a mild form of the infection, the victim did not necessarily catch it from a freshly butchered animal. It could have easily come from a human vendor of that animal.Or this could not have anything to do with the meat being sold in Wuhan Market. But, I have to start somewhere, I will assume that it does.

We have a newly identified disease-causing RNA virus, most likely it was a zoonosis before it got into our populations (since that where most RNA viruses come from). If someone died from it, the evidence is there, waiting to be uncovered in a lab.

If the first case did not die--say that person was basically healthy and brought a few sniffles home them to Wuhan China from who knows where---then things will get more difficult. How do you track down a virus that left no foot prints until it had passed from two to three to more people before leaving evidence of its passage (e.g. a fatality)?

Since this virus has already been well primed to infect humans, then it is likely that it already exists somewhere in the world as a well-controlled human (or, less likely simian) viral pathogen—much like the common cold is for most of us. People in that isolated part of the world get COVID 19 and get over it in childhood. But if you do not get your immunity at the right time, it can become deadly. (Has anyone seen how sick people get when they catch measles as adults, even young adults?) This implies that it exists in the wild—somewhere.

Bats are speculated to be the world’s biggest carrier of coronavirus. However, the disease is not thought to jump straight from bat to humans. Instead there is likely to be an intermediate host. It has been reported that COVID 19 resembles a virus found in the diseased lungs of a pair of Malayan pangolins. It is not a full match suggesting that the disease did not jump straight from the two dead pangolins to humans. Since pangolins are eaten and used for medicine in China, a logical step to look would be those who make a living hunting Malayan pangolin.


Or, if you go back to the first article, look for simians in the region where the region where the Malayan pangolins are naturally found since

“Although humans share their RNA viruses with many different mammalian taxa, those from other primates appear most likely to be capable of spreading through human populations”

We do no know that COVID 19 came from Malayan pangolin. But say it does. South Asian and South East Asian Pangolins are endangered. Their forest habits are being cut down. Humans poach them for food and medicine and their scales. According to this recent article, South Asian and Southeast Asian pangolins are now the most trafficked mammals around the world. Local bow and hunter hunters in some region have been squeezed out by poachers who have come in armed with rifles, driving on new roads through forests that have been newly leveled. A perfect storm if there is a well-controlled animal origin RNA virus to which the locals have adapted. So yeah, the timing is right.


More on how clearing tropical forest land is associated with increased rates of viral disease. Note the ten times higher viral diversity in coronaviruses in bats in tropical forest which have been highly disturbed.


Different coronaviruses have been show capable of exchanging their RNA in vivo.

“RNA-RNA recombination between different strains of the murine coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) occurs at a very high frequency in tissue culture. To demonstrate that RNA recombination may play a role in the evolution and pathogenesis of coronaviruses, we sought to determine whether MHV recombination could occur during replication in the animal host of the virus. By using two selectable markers, i.e., temperature sensitivity and monoclonal antibody neutralization, we isolated several recombinant viruses from the brains of mice infected with two different strains of MHV. The recombination frequency was very high, and recombination occurred at multiple sites on the viral RNA genome. This finding suggests that RNA-RNA recombination may play a significant role in natural evolution and neuropathogenesis of coronaviruses.”

Meaning cleared tropical forest which is also being targeted by poachers might have two things going for it if your goal is accelerated mutation and spread of a new coronavirus pathogen.

If the Malayan pangolin is the (original source) of COVID 19, then checking the indigenous populations of the areas where the pangolin live and have been hunted by locals might detect antibodies to the virus. Or turn up local remedies that have been used to limit its virulence. And checking for mysterious illness and death among those who poach pangolin and then carry them back to China might also be fruitful.

Oh, and about the simian intermediary hypothesis. The proboscis monkey is on the top ten list of most desirable poached wild animals in China—along with the pangolin. So be sure to check Borneo where both proboscis monkeys and pangolin live--and are threatened with extinction.


But watch out. Heavy deforestation in Borneo is giving rise to a bunch of disease.

Mosquitoes are not the only carriers of pathogens from the wild to humans. Bats, primates, and even snails can carry disease, and transmission dynamics change for all of these species following forest clearing, often creating a much greater threat to people.


And being an island with some pretty unique animals (like the proboscus monkey) Borneo would have had a very long time of relative isolation in order to cook up an RNA virus that we, the rest of the world, are not prepared for.

Edit. The video tagged on YouTube is not the Wuhan Seafood Market as was posted below. I found several different videos online all claiming to be The Wuhan Market but which were actually filmed elsewhere. Films taken in Wuhan are very brief and show little detail so maybe filming was discouraged. But there are stories confirming that bats, pangolin and other animals were sold there.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Mar 26, 2020, 09:32 PM (13 replies)
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