Talk:2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak

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Face masks[edit]

There's been quite a bit in the media about the (in)effectiveness of face masks and other methods of supposedly preventing airborne viruses; this goes beyond the current Coronavirus outbreak to influenza etc but could be covered either here or in a separate article.[1][2][3] Handwashing is also on the TODO list I think. --Annanoon (talk) 09:48, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

A compilation of research publication on face masks [4], curated by Jeremy Howard [5] — Unsigned, by: Holydemon / talk / contribs

Silver ranking[edit]

I believe the article is already of high enough quality to skip bronze entirely and jump straight to silver. Any objections? Minish (talk) 20:48, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

I second the motion.G Man (talk) 19:03, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

Infection rates[edit]

There appears to be a high rate of 'low visibility infection' (few or no symptoms), and the disease's main impact seems on the old and the already ill (as is often the case with such diseases).

However - it does not seem to be affecting children. Why? Anna Livia (talk) 19:14, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

Okay, give me 15 immunology phds 6 months, and a $20 million research budget and I'll tell you. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:28, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Set it up and give me 'a few bob' for bringing your attention to the subject.
In six months coronavirus will be as forgotten as the 'outbreak of flesh eating virus' of a while back, and there will be some other disease filling the newspapers/TV programs. Anna Livia (talk) 19:35, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Maybe it'll be forgotten. Also possible is that it'll be another flu, endemic to many places. Still forgotten by the media and everyone panicking today. But also still killing people. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:32, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

I hope this doesn't turn into another Brexit article[edit]

We are not very good at covering live issues. Editors have a tendency to add whatever happens to be going on at the moment. If you would like a good example of the problems this can cause look at the Brexit article. It really needs to be rewritten from scratch. With regard to Covid, whatever is happening in any particular country now will almost certainly not be relevant in a year's time and will probably need to be deleted when a more global historic overview is needed.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 11:15, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

honestly a RW article on the subject should just mostly focus on conspiracy theories like "It came from a weapons lab" or similar. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 13:36, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
This is true.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 11:01, 5 March 2020 (UTC)

Falsehoods spread over social media[edit]

A group I'm a part of has been hit with the Japanese doctor one. They're quite popular! (talk) 16:04, 13 March 2020 (UTC)

Consequences of the outbreak[edit]

Perhaps there should be some coverage already.

The most obvious:

  • The impact of deferred sports events, music festivals etc.
  • Refinements in government contingency planning for large scale outbreaks of disease and pandemics of equal or greater impact.
  • An increase in the birth rate Christmas 2020-Spring 2021.

Others? Anna Livia (talk) 13:05, 19 March 2020 (UTC)

@Anna Livia Seriously weakened economies, e.g. deferment of the 'Made in China 2025' initiative, major healthcare reforms in order to cut costs and deficits. What makes you think there will be a baby boom later on? A lot of people talked about this but I do not find their reasoning satisfying. Sure, it would seem that way if you look at historical data. But the modern world is different in one key way: contraception is now more widely available than ever before. A post-pandemic baby boom is a curve that could be flattened. Nerd (talk) 18:51, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
A known phenomenon - at random [6], [7], [8] and [9]. (There are also claims that forcing families to spend extended periods of time together due to CV will result in increased divorces - which apparently happens after Christmas breaks).

My second point is not a conspiracy theory (but what governments etc should be doing). Anna Livia (talk) 19:26, 19 March 2020 (UTC)

@Anna Livia Ha ha! I am not that affected by the culture of Rational Wiki. (I have not been active here.) I will not accuse you of this and that just because you have an idea I disagree with. A more thorough analysis suggests that it depends on the fatality rate and which country you are looking at. But I agree about the possible spike in divorce rates. Getting stuck with many people in confined space can be a stressful experience. People shall demand freedom after that.
Moreover, immigration, international tourism, and international trade will change. Nationalism and self-sufficiency will become more popular. Nerd (talk) 20:56, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
I operate in various bits of the wikiverse etc (under various pen-names) and have Britviews.
I was starting a discussion off, and quoting a factoid (which may be partially true). Anna Livia (talk) 23:17, 19 March 2020 (UTC)

β”Œβ”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”˜ There was reportedly no panic-buying in South Korea. Other countries could learn from this. Nerd (talk) 14:38, 21 March 2020 (UTC)

It appears a baby boom is possible within a couple years, another article suggests. How well the economy recovers plays a key role. Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia could all use a baby boom after this. They all have aging populations, especially the first four. Nerd (talk) 00:47, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

China question[edit]

It is said that there have been no new deaths - is this likely/plausible, fake news, or the deaths being assigned to the 'underlying cause' (which seems to be a factor in deaths from CV)? Anna Livia (talk) 18:58, 21 March 2020 (UTC)

@Anna Livia On one hand, China's declining infection rate appears plausible, given that South Korea, Japan, and Singapore are all experiencing the same phenomenon. They were the first to get hit, so they are the first to get out. However, China's official numbers are sketchy, and the exact number is probably higher. The Communist Party desperately needs a victory in its "people's war" against the Wuhan flu in order to alleviate public anger. This analysis assumes no secondary rounds of infections (due to relaxed quarantine requirements and/or mutations that enable the virus spread more easily or to become more potent). Nerd (talk) 20:08, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
I can see the several factors playing parts (and 'fake news' can blend into 'being economical with the truth'/how the statistics are presented - going from 4 to 8 #is# a 100% increase).
To what extent is the main problem not knowing how many people are infected but having only low level symptoms and a sufficiently strong 'dose' of the infection to acquire appropriate immunity (until the virus mutates). Anna Livia (talk) 23:07, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
@Anna Livia Given that test kits are in short supply, it is difficult to know at this point how many are actually infected but remain asymptomatic. But once this pandemic is over, we will probably have a better idea. Scientists would have more data to work with and the benefit of hindsight. Right now, the tracker from John Hopkins University suggests the growth of infection is indeed exponential. Nerd (talk) 16:02, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
I'm inclined to believe the Chinese. But the problem they have is that is's a global issue. Look at what happened to Hong Hong when they took off the brakes.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:36, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

β”Œβ”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”€β”˜ The official death toll for the ill-fated City of Wuhan jumped 50%. Ouch! The actually number is likely much higher. Nerd (talk) 02:10, 20 April 2020 (UTC)

Question 2[edit]

Given that COVID appears to have 'species jumped' through a live animal market - could it have been endemic as a relatively harmless disease sometimes caught by humans - the 'cowpox version' (so there will be a degree of partial immunity in some Chinese populations), and then mutated into a more virulent version - the 'smallpox version' which is what we are seeing now? (I know they are different diseases but using an analogy). Anna Livia (talk) 13:12, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

@Anna Livia The Wuhan flu is indeed an example of something caused by a zoonotic pathogen. As many countries in Africa and Asia continue to industrialize and urbanize, we can expect more to originate from these places. Scientists think that the Wuhan coronavirus has already mutated to be different from SARS but closer to HIV. Nerd (talk) 15:57, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
My question is slightly different - did the disease 'jump' in two different forms, initially 'mild' and then the current version. Anna Livia (talk) 19:47, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
It is in the nature of viruses to mutate. My understanding is that when they jump species they mutate in three ways. First they mutate to become better at reproducing within the initial human host. If they get the chance to spread then they mutate to become both more infectious and less dangerous. But I'm just some random bloke on the internet and not a doctor.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 10:49, 28 March 2020 (UTC)


@Nerd, could you stop calling it the 'Wuhan flu'? That is not the medical terminology, and calling it that feeds into racist ideology.[10][11] Bongolian (talk) 18:00, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

@Bongolian Surely you have heard of names like the Spanish flu, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, the Stockholm syndrome, the Zika virus, the Ebola virus, the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu, the West Nile virus, and the African swine fever. This falls under WP:COMMONNAME. Some folks tried to change the name of the Wikipedia page for Spanish fluWikipedia's W.svg by the same line of reasoning, that is is not "proper" medical terminology but failed due to a wall of resistance. People clearly saw where this was coming from and some openly called it out. Just because we name a disease after a place does not mean we equate the people living there with pathogens or disease. There are plenty of precedents. Calling it the coronavirus is inadequate since the word 'coronavirus' denotes an entire class of viruses. SARS was caused by the coronavirus, for example. That is why this one is officially named SARS-CoV-2. Given that Africa and Asia will continue to industrialize and urbanize, there will likely be plenty more zoonotic coronaviruses (coming from these regions). Please see the link I shared above; the article is from a clinical microbiologist.
Lastly, we should be more concerned the effects of COVID-19 than speech policing. The public needs a name they can remember, and if they check your favorite search engines, the term you seek to erase is not that uncommonly used. Try the auto-complete function and you will see. Nerd (talk) 18:26, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
Did you read either of the citations that I gave? Particularly:[12]
β€œβ€But the Spanish flu didn’t get that name (real name: H1N1!) because it started in Spain. It actually started in Kansas. It became commonly known as the Spanish flu because in the middle of World War I, in which Spain remained neutral, Spain was one of the only Western nations willing to report frankly on the pandemic.
β€œβ€The world has been trying to move past the racist disease-naming conventions of the past in recent years, making it all the more telling that Trump has revived them in a moment of crisis. He might be annoyed that Chinese officials and media have, for their part, tried to blame the virus on America.
β€œβ€There is a long history of racializing pandemics by attaching them to a specific place and people, othering a pathogen that originated in another land in much the same way white Americans have historically othered people of color who came to (or whose ancestors came to) the United States from somewhere else. Trump’s comments are yet another example of this lamentable instinct and another illustration of his xenophobia in office. This is the same president who referred to some African countries as β€œshitholes” in advocating for restrictive immigration policies.
Bongolian (talk) 18:35, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I know that the Spanish flu got its name because Spain was able to report its infections accurately, being a neutral party during the Great War. Similarly, the disease in question was first reported in Wuhan, so we name it after that place. Frankly, I do not care about their attempts at speech-policing given the precedents. Again, not all of us think along racist lines. Just because we name a disease after a certain place does not mean we hate the people living there. To use a completely different example, we keeping saying jellyfish even though we know it is not a fish. Common names are easier to remember than technical names. Again, there will be plenty more coronaviruses if that microbiologist is correct.
Of course the Chinese Communists will try to blame it one someone else. I remember reading articles or watching reports from late November or December 2019 about the rise of a new respiratory disease in China. They downplayed and covered it up for weeks so now we have a pandemic. Nerd (talk) 18:47, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
COVID, covid, coronavirus, and corona virus are all in common use, so there's really no need to refer to it based on its origin. Bongolian (talk) 18:50, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
COVID stands for China-originated viral infections disease coronavirus disease. Given that there will be more of these, such a name is not good enough. The King of viruses shall return! Why not name it after the place where it was first reported or the person or people who identified it? Look, I'll make you a deal out of respect for you as a long-time editor and moderator and someone who never called me names. When talking to you, I shall refrain from using that name. But I ask that you refrain from speech-policing on this issue outside of this platform. You are probably experienced enough to realize you will probably fail. Nerd (talk) 19:02, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
Fine. Bongolian (talk) 19:06, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
And what about 'the French etc disease'? Anna Livia (talk) 19:51, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
No, the moment the fact got out that the Coronavirus, or Wuhan CoVir, had come from China, Racist ideology was already fed. Nothing you or I can do about it, unless deception is justified for that end. Also, the US is home to 6 uniquely American diseases (Heartland fever, Rocky Mountains, Valley, Norovirus, Lyme, and Legionnaires). So, this insistence on not calling Wuhan CoVir by its place of origin, 'cos it might be racist, is a flawed idea with weak moral weight and weaker logical support, and an excuse by CCP propagandists to evade responsibility or association. Calling a disease by its location of origin is valid and isn't racist. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

There are a number of diseases which are called after their 'point of apparent origin/where they were first identified etc' (Rocky Mountain, Legionnaires) - and if other forms of this variety of Covid (ie corona virus not the backformation above) emerge then geographic naming could be appropriate; however the 'French etc disease' was meant to be abusive. Anna Livia (talk) 13:18, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

how are legionairres, lymes, and norovirus uniquely American? AMassiveGay (talk) 13:50, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
also, the place of origin is kind of irrelevant as tis corona virus is worldwide, and its only racists still insisting on the origin naming convention AMassiveGay (talk) 13:53, 6 April 2020 (UTC)
I think in modern times this "calling disease by place of origin" has been discouraged, in part because people have gotten things massively wrong before ("Spanish flu" being the most notorious example). "Coronavirus" was the terminology most in use before it was officially named, even though that is a misnomer since there are multiple coronavirus species. COVID-19 also has also caught on as a term of common use after the virus was officially named. After February 2020 the only place I find the term "Wuhan virus" in use is from United States Republican politicians who were looking to score political bullshit brownie points. (TBH using silly logic like this, we might as well call it the "US virus" or "Republican virus" at this point since we have the most cases, and much of the fault for that could squarely be pointed at US Republican politicians who dismissed this virus as a hoax.) (talk) 15:49, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

@Anna Livia Your mentioning of France makes me think of the Dutch elm disease. @AMassiveGay Nope. We typically name a disease after a place where it was first reported. Naming a disease after a place is not necessarily discriminatory. If we can use names like Spanish flu, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, the Stockholm syndrome, the Zika virus, the Ebola virus, the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu, the West Nile virus, and the African swine fever, we can call it the Chinese virus. Non-racists will obviously not equate people with pathogens. Oh, and calling it the coronavirus makes no sense since the word 'coronavirus' denotes an entire classification of viruses. SARS was caused by a coronavirus. The one causing the Wuhan flu is named SARS-CoV-2. Nerd (talk) 00:44, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

well, its covid-19 according to WHO and their naming convention which states geographic locations should not be used. interestingly, Spanish flu is give as an example to be avoided. just because it has been how things were done does not mean we should continue. racist associations were clearly made early on, as evidenced, in the uk at least, by racist attacks. reporting was very much centred on chia and Wuhan. the focus of reporting no longer has that focus and with many areas on lockdown, the number of dead continues to rise, businesses go under, jobs are lost, no end in sight and with economic fall out to be with us a whole lot longer, misinformation is rife and uncertainty is the only thing that is certain. people look for scapegoats to make sense of such things. its not unreasonable to imagine a geographic naming convention in such an atmosphere could lead to a rise in stigmatisation and xenophobia if you name this thing something that indelibly linked to a region or a people, and you see that thing everywhere. every where you look, you hear it a million times everywhere you go, indelibly linked to every indignity endured, every tragedy personal, national, and global, suffered through, as your job goes, your money goes and but bills still come, as do the deaths, all trapped in your own home with nothing to do but stew in fear and uncertainty, all he while the name of this thing is tattooed on your eyeballs and the sound of the constant tinnitus ringing in your ears. it does not seem a stretch to me that some negative associations might be formed. associations that might build on already existing prejudices. usage of 'Wuhan virus' by the few politicians Ive heard use it, and those that have explicitly sought to blame china and/or immigrants for all manner of things surrounding the virus seek to do just that. its been made harder for them to do as we can pointedly correct them.
btw the 'racists gonna be racist' argument is just facile. im sure racist folk need no excuse to be racist. I doubt though that many racists woke this morning and just thought they'd give this racism thing a go. negative associations and stereotypes are implicitly formed and we are often not even consciously aware they have been. with location so intrinsically and constantly linked to such a drawn out and profound catastrophe would bring nothing positive. and theres no reason to. AMassiveGay (talk) 15:46, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
The Spanish Flu was named in 1918, German Measles: 1814, Japanese encephalitis: 1871, Stockholm syndrome: 1973, Zika virus: 1947, Ebola virus: 1976 (interesting you should bring it up because the Ebola river was 69 miles away from the outbreak and the epidemiologist only chose the name to NOT harm the place it was actually found), the Asian flu: 1957, Hong Kong flu: 1968, West Nile virus: 1937, and African swine fever: 1907. In short, if you're going to appeal to tradition, try to find one that hasn't been out of favor for over 40 years. - Immigrant laborer (talk) 16:00, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
@AMassiveGay Of course the Wuhan flu is a global pandemic like the Spanish flu was. No one is denying that. Diseases can start in one place and spread around the globe. That certain public officials and journalists seem more interested in speech policing than containing a disease is frankly ridiculous. It was not long ago that phrases like "Wuhan coronavirus" or "Chinese coronavirus" were common in the media. But now they turn around and tell us that such names are this and that. Ha! Public trust in the media is declining in many countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., and this latest attempt at lecturing the public is not going to turn out well for them.
@Immigrant laborer This convention or tradition is out of favor? Surely not among the general public. It is also quite well established, so sticking to it is not a bad idea. Just because it is 'tradition' does not mean we should abandon it. Think about it. Do you use the scientific names of of a species or do you use a common name? Nerd (talk) 16:01, 11 April 2020 (UTC)
Nobody's saying abandon it because it's tradition; it should stay abandoned because it's racist as in it tars the 11 million people that live in Wuhan, 98 percent of whom are just trying to get through their day. Not even Fox news or the President still use it. If the people you hang out with still do, then, well, you may want to reconsider your friend choices. The last person I bumped into that was waving this banner couldn't hold out for more than 2 minutes before making the case that the name should be retained as a reminder of how evil Xi Jinping was. Your previous comments get pretty close to that stance as well. The Chinese government will be gone long before the virus is. - Immigrant laborer (talk) 16:36, 11 April 2020 (UTC)

What will happen[edit]

… with the (Irish) marching season? Anna Livia (talk) 13:01, 29 March 2020 (UTC)

The 'bowler hats' have decided to abandon or postpone the events. Anna Livia (talk) 12:03, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

COVID and 5G[edit]

Paraphrasing slightly - 'somebody I know' thinks that it is not the 5G towers that are the issue but that there is a possibility that the digging for the towers' foundations that stirs up 'bacteria and viruses' lying dormant in the ground - not necessarily COVID.

How plausible is this - I have come across a reference to the possibility of diseases being released from sealed coffins and then there is the 'Gruinard Island phenomenon.' Anna Livia (talk) 14:26, 7 April 2020 (UTC)

Don't bother with conspiratorial nonsense. Spend your time reading more sensible stuff. Nerd (talk) 00:45, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
The 5G tower-COVID is a conspiracy theory; 'dormant ancient diseases dispersed' is a possibility (a variant on this - who would be immune to the sweating sickness or smallpox?) - and 'bacteria or whatever' normally resident deep in the soil could affect people exposed to it when it is dug up. Anna Livia (talk) 11:22, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
How many things have we dug up in our cities? How many buildings, skyscrapers, roads, telephone poles, electricity pylons have we erected? How many bombs fell in the second world war? Yet suddenly building a telephone mast in respect of one specific technology is going to disturb this particular virus? A virus which, at best, can live only a few days outside a host? It's crazy.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 17:24, 9 April 2020 (UTC)
The question was about the relative probabilities - 'some disease causer' being released from deep in the earth/brought to the surface by spelunkers/being trapped in a coffin sealed against Resurrection Men and then released is possible (the tetanus and anthrax model) - 'some radio waves setting off a disease' is not. Anna Livia (talk) 22:46, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
That's not something I'd worry about. We didn't unleash diseases when building all of our other towers, I don't think the same would happen if we suddenly upgraded to 5G. Π‘aΠ±yΠ›uigiOΠ½Π€ireπŸš“(T|C) 19:31, 13 April 2020 (UTC)
The difference is - there are 'some disconnected factoids' for one possibility ('soil bugs etc', sealed coffins, Anthrax Island, London Underground mice and midges, deep cave creatures and 'bugs') so the answer is 'very low probability, not impossible, but very limited evidence of occurrence' and 'unproven, unfounded and unpossible.' Anna Livia (talk) 17:33, 14 April 2020 (UTC)
see Draft:5G, I just asked people on the RW Twitter to fill it out a bit - David Gerard (talk) 14:45, 14 April 2020 (UTC)

β€œThe virus is a hoax”[edit]

The theory that seems to be gaining traction among /pol/ and affiliated groups is that the virus is not actually dangerous, and no one is dying from it. I’m new here, what do we do? BunchHuggins (talk) 14:51, 15 April 2020 (UTC)BunchHuggins

Hi. And welcome. Do you have a link to something where they are claiming this? If you do they we should probably mention in in the article as I don't think anyone has called it a hoax since Trump did. Batshit crazy is always worth adding!Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:40, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

Captain Tom Moore[edit]

Can some mention be made of this gentleman (current moneys collected presently at over Β£7 million). Anna Livia (talk) 15:00, 15 April 2020 (UTC)

... and rising. Anna Livia (talk) 15:01, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
I'm not aware of anything "Rationalwiki mission worthy" about Tom Moore, in fact this guy seems rather opposite of a "Rationalwiki mission worthy" subject from all I've heard. The other WikiWikipedia's W.svg has given him a page for his massive fundraising effort. (talk) 17:33, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Mentioned on RationalWiki:What is going on with the coronavirus?. A good example (in both senses) of a meme going viral. Anna Livia (talk) 18:19, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
That works there, it is good news. (talk) 18:44, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
He fits the definition of the BritEnglish term 'a good egg.' Β£25million and counting; going to open a hospital by videolink, classes of schoolchildren are designing birthday cards for him, and his nomination to be given a title has been signed by a very large number of people. Not bad for someone who was totally unknown a couple of weeks ago. Anna Livia (talk) 14:28, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

Religious gatherings, faith and science in relation to the virus[edit]

The Associated Press have an interesting article on religion, science and COVID-19. Possibly some information on this could be used in this article? – AOAPJM (talk) 00:59, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

Using this and other articles I added an entire section on religious defiance of COVID-19 lockdowns. It ended up being pretty huge. Soundwave106 (talk) 16:17, 17 April 2020 (UTC)
Good work! Bongolian (talk) 16:28, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

Characterization of hydroxychloroquine as "snake oil"[edit]

This article refers to hydroxychloroquine as a "snake oil" treatment for COVID, despite studies that exist (1) (2) suggesting that it is effective in treating the coronavirus. (And no, I'm not talking about the Raoult studies either - I'm aware of their methodological flaws and the author's questionable background.) Although I would agree that it is an unproven treatment, and believe that Trump has overstated the scientific evidence in its favor, I think it would be a mistake to jump the gun and start calling it "snake oil" when so little evidence exists one way or the other about its efficacy. Ultimately, we will have to wait for clinical trial results to determine whether HCQ is an effective treatment or not. Until then, it would be ridiculous to place it in the same category as some of the genuinely fraudulent treatments like colloidal silver, cannabis, or being injected with disinfectant. RWNoob (talk) 16:56, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

This is true, but the problem is "unproven but potential remedy" ends up acting in a nearly similar fashion when touted as a miracle cure by "influencers" too soon. It's not pure bullshit "snake oil" but it's in that direction; if you have a better suggestion for a title that might work. ("Snake oil and unproven remedies" perhaps?)
Lopinavir/ritonavirWikipedia's W.svg is mentioned in the "snake oil" section too and kind of falls under the same category. The executive summary that I see with LPVr is that although as a protease inhibitor it may have a little generic effect since biology is often never terribly exact, the main protein target of these drugs is not present in the COVID-19 RNA. (Other protease inhibitors *are* being reviewed, I understand.) Some people in China early on were hoarding this drug irregardless, per Reuters.
Hydroxychloroquine is to me even a worse suggestion in some ways; it's a drug from the old days (probably it was borne from taking quinine, the active ingredient of cinchona that was an old school traditional plant based med that actually worked a bit, and synthesizing a bunch of near-clones) so we don't even know the exact mechanism of action, and it has serious side effects to boot. It's not even the first line drug for malaria anymore (that would be atovaquone proguanil, two drugs which we seem to have a pretty good idea on how they work). So while hydroxychloroquine has a chance, it's probably not the best choice anymore; in fact, I doubt the current hot compound, remdesivir, will be top choice once new things are created for this virus specifically.
The problem is that since a national leader with a cult of personality of fans touted this, you're going to get idiots who parrot the president's talking points and look suspiciously at the better compounds that actually seem more promising. At this level, this honestly isn't that different than a snake oil salesman. Some nutritional supplements exist on very similar principles too -- you have a few small scale studies saying compound X may help boost condition Y in circumstance Z. Those studies might be true, but snake oil salesmen leech onto these nuggets and feed bro-science to the masses and now all of a sudden compound X is being touted in massive megadose vitamin amounts by (as an example) Dr. Oz on Oprah. It is a better situation than injecting bleach, but with all the potential problems of hydroxychloroquine, and the lack of off-label dosage guidance, I honestly think it would have been better if Trump promoted a sugar pill. Soundwave106 (talk) 19:01, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

Key actors in disinformation[edit]

might be good to have a section outlining some of the key proponents of misinformation eg Elon Musk, and JP Sears.

"Musk’s dissemination of misinformation about the virus is not without consequences. He has more than 33m followers on Twitter and a fan base that tends to exalt him as a cross between Tony Stark and God. A recent study published as a letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine linked his tweet about chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that was subsequently touted as a potential Covid-19 treatment by Donald Trump, to a dramatic surge in online demand for the prescription medication."

What do youse think? Might be good to get it down now as it happens and if it's not relevant then scrap later. Skinnytony1 (talk) 04:51, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

Musk's COVID-19 nonsense is noted on his page, but it definitely might be worth it to add to the "economy > health" section as well, his COVID-19 insanity seems to be making lots of headlines. JP Sears hasn't shown up in my news sources though, do you have some links that might be helpful here? Soundwave106 (talk) 12:18, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

Better to die than to lose money[edit]

why is the uk put in this section? its response has not been remotely similar, and the 'herd immunity' was abandoned long before infection and death rates blew up. in no way is the uk's response similar to the US or to Brazils, which have been characterised by denial and misinformation even as the death toll rises, and unlike the uk the us has had the production and diagnostic capacity to adequately test its people, but still chose not to.

why not spain in this section? why not Italy? why not france? despite not doing a whole different to these countries, the UK is somehow significantly worse than these countries, which have all had similar problems of a slow response and problems meeting testing goals. there seems to be an in built bias with the uk that I have found as result from, for me, English language sources examine the uk and its resonse in far greater detail than other comparable European countries. for example I cannot adequately compare france and the uks issues with testing as while I have found reams and reams of info in the uk, and I cannot find any info with the same depth for france beyond the flat statement 'it has had problems'. take a look at the uks wikipedia page on its response compared to frances or spains or any country that isn't English speaking and you can see how massive the uk's page is compared to the others.

it is true that the total number of deaths is greater in the uk, but deaths per million tells a different story (Belgium wins that one). if indeed uk is 'worse' than most other countries, then I would like see just how much worse, what it has been doing or not doing that that makes it so, and how much can attributed to the systemic differences of what is actually possible rather than simply a 'poor' response. comparisons to germany or south korea are not good comparisons either, especially when they were already in better prepared for such a pandemic in the first place regarding testing. AMassiveGay (talk) 13:44, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

uk's inclusion in this section is supported by only opinion backed up by an article that is complete dross misrepresenting the actual events and the reasons behind them. AMassiveGay (talk) 14:15, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Boris Johnson probably deserves to be put somewhere due to his initial embrace of the questionable herd immunity strategy but he did reverse course around mid March, and the COVID-19 experience he had in which he apparently didn't take the disease seriously at first and resisted efforts, before having to be hooked to a ventilator -- he now seems to take the disease a lot more seriously I think (will have to find more details behind the paywalled article though). At least his recent strategy seems to be more cautious but I'd have to look at more articles. Either way, agree a rewrite is needed, I think someone added that around mid-March and the situation has changed a lot since then. Boris doesn't deserve to be lumped in with Trump / Republicans and Bolsonaro. (I'd also have to double check about the Mexico PM). Soundwave106 (talk) 15:19, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
if it needs to be put anywhere it should be in some kind analysis of the relatively slow responses to the pandemic in Europe where what we are experiencing is unprecedented compared to responses in parts of asia its an all too familiar an experience, having dealt with not just sars, but more severely effected by avian flu outbreaks outbreaks.
there should also be more focus on countries where their response has been keep death tolls low and look at why they have been so effective in their management of the crisis, and how realistically their approaches could be applied to areas where healthcare systems are organised significantly different ways or not so resilient to disruptions to supply chains.
case in point: germany, as the European example of best practice in this crisis and often used as the comparison of what the uk 'should have done', is credited for producing and administering of tests while the uk has been criticised for it failure to match this success, despite germany having the capacity for this while the uk just does not, aggravated by the fact reagents that are necessary for testing are produced in germany and in normal times where the uk sources them from. so germany can test, with supply chain disruption not an issue for them, while the uk, whose diagnostic ability is world class but not prepared for the scale that this pandemic requires, is condemned for being crippled by that disruption AMassiveGay (talk) 17:51, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Sweden's "herd immunity" strategy seems to have failed spectacularly and Johnson's initial response (which could have lead in this direction) could point towards them, who actually implemented the idea in full. The trouble is "herd immunity" isn't exactly "snake oil" per se (it's misguided but not like injecting bleach) so it demands something we don't have in the article at this point. Probably a bird's eye analysis of the response might be best. Soundwave106 (talk) 20:12, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
it leaves a bad taste in my mouth feeling like I have to defend a prick like Johnson AMassiveGay (talk) 20:20, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
Since both Britain and Mexico came around to their senses in about mid-late March I think I'll at least remove them from that section. If we want to do a note on herd immunity and slow responses later, perhaps then it will be notable because both Mexico and Britain were a little slow and Johnson embraced herd immunity at first, but I don't think they quite fit what's covered here right now. Soundwave106 (talk) 02:02, 20 May 2020 (UTC)

Trump and tablets[edit]

I suppose anti-malaria tablets are slightly less dangerous than bleach (and he seems to have misunderstood the historical use of malaria to cure another disease entirely). Anna Livia (talk) 17:57, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

hes probably not even taking them for real. AMassiveGay (talk) 18:05, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
He -thinks- he's taking them. Five bucks they're candy-coated licorice. Semipenultimate (talk) 02:56, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
To clarify - I was making a specific historical reference rather than linking the two components. Anna Livia (talk) 12:41, 20 May 2020 (UTC)