Oxygen Starvation



VENTILATORS may be causing the lung damage, not the virus

1:42:”It appears to be some kind of virally-induced disease most resembling high altitude sickness. It is as if tens of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers are on a plane at 30,000 feet and the cabin pressure is slowly being let out. These patients are slowly being starved of oxygen. I have seen patients dependent on oxygen take off their oxygen and quickly progress through a state of anxiety, and emotional distress, and eventually get blue in the face, and while they look like patients absolutely on the brink of death, they do not look like patients dying of pneumonia. I have never been a mountain climber and I do not know the conditions at base camps below the highest peaks in the world, but I suspect that the patients that I’m seeing in front of me look most like as if a person was dropped off on the top of mount Everest without time to acclimate.”

This connects to a report from Everest in 1922:

Captain G J Finch, who took part in the Mount Everest expedition, speaking at a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, London, last evening on the equipment for high climbing, testified to the comfort of cigarette smoking at very high altitude. He said that he and two other members of the expedition camped at 25,000 ft for over 26 hours and all that time they used no oxygen.

About half an hour after arrival he noticed in a very marked fashion that unless he kept his mind on the question of breathing, making it a voluntary process instead of an involuntary one, he suffered from lack of air. He had 30 cigarettes with him, and as a measure of desperation he lit one. After deeply inhaling the smoke he and his companions found they could take their mind off the question of breathing altogether … The effect of a cigarette lasted at least three hours, and when the supply of cigarettes was exhausted they had recourse to oxygen, which enabled them to have their first sleep at this great altitude.

And that in its turn connects to recent reports that smoking tobacco seems to offer protection against Covid-19. It appears that mountaineers were aware 100 years ago of the benefits of smoking at very high altitude.

My 72-year-old personal testimony: I have myself been intermittently suffering from shortness of breath (no idea if it’s Covid-19) since 17 January 2020 , when I got out of my bed in the morning and sat gasping for breath for an hour or two before my breathing returned to normal. Although I had a slight cough, my lungs were clear. I concluded that my blood oxygen levels had fallen to a low level, and that was why I had been gasping for breath.

Over the past two months of studying intermittent episodes of shortness of breath, I’ve found that more or less any physical effort (standing up, walking around, sitting down, picking things up) can trigger them. Performing physical work of this kind will deplete blood oxygen, as glucose in cells is burned with oxygen. The shortness of breath starts shortly after I’ve done physical work of this kind.

I’m very seldom short of breath while sitting or standing or lying quietly in bed. It starts up when I do something. And I’ve found that if I do everything slowly I don’t get short of breath. That means standing up slowly, picking things up slowly, walking around slowly. It also helps if I break activities down into separate actions with pauses between them (e.g. stand up – pause – walk across room – pause – fill kettle – pause). If I do everything at normal speed, I’m more or less guaranteed to find myself breathing very heavily (and also sometimes experiencing incontinence). The shortness of breath doesn’t last long: after a few minutes my breathing usually returns to normal.

This morning I found myself breathing very heavily after doing next to nothing (walking from one room to another and filling a kettle), and did something I normally don’t do: I sat down and lit a roll-up and inhaled its smoke deeply while still puffing and  panting. By the time I’d got half way through the cigarette, my breathing had subsided nearly back to normal.

That’s just one test. I think I’ll try that again a few times to see if there’s consistent relief. But it does seem to square with both the Everest mountaineers and recent reports of smoking helping with Covid-19.

While episodes of shortness of breath are generally associated with physical effort, there does seem to be a psychological element to it as well: I can be sitting quietly and suddenly find myself starting to breathe heavily without having done anything.

It varies from day to day. Yesterday I experienced next to no shortage of breath throughout the day. Also at the moment I haven’t been out of my flat for 3 or 4 weeks.

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Rather Wonderful

I was listening yesterday to Peter Hitchens telling the world that Britain had become a police state, its citizens infantilised. He was talking about the current lockdown, everyone told to stay at home.

And I didn’t agree with him.

I suppose that what I think is that there are episodes when the normal rules governing behaviour are suspended. This happens in small communities, and also in nations. For example after a car crash in which someone has been slightly hurt, that person might be lifted up and carried away. And that’s a break with normal behaviour, in which no hand is laid on anyone.

The current coronavirus epidemic seems to me to be one of these episodes when normal rules are suspended. The British government wants to slow the spread of the virus by locking most people in their homes for a few weeks, and it needs the cooperation of the British people to do this. And the British people seem to be cooperating. Is that such a terrible thing?

I don’t think it’s terrible. I think it’s rather wonderful to see people and government in quick agreement with each other in the face of a rather sudden emergency.

Is it any different from the captain of the Titanic calling for women and children first to the lifeboats as the ship started sinking? He introduced a new rule in the emergency. Did he do something terrible? Should the passengers have revolted?

So I see what’s currently happening as being the British people going along with the British government during an emergency. I don’t think we’ve been infantilised. I don’t think Britain has become a police state.

I think that will only happen if, when the emergency is over, the lockdown continues. Britain will only become a police state if a temporary emergency is used as a pretext for permanent change.

And I don’t think that’s going to happen. Boris Johnson isn’t a dictator. Nor is he a progressive radical. When the coronavirus epidemic has passed, the lockdown will end.

If I have any reservations about what’s happening, it is that I wonder if the whole coronavirus episode is one vast over-reaction to an epidemic which may not be much worse than the flu epidemics that afflict Britain every year. We can’t know right now, but in a year or so we probably will have a much better idea. And in particular we will have a better idea of how great the economic damage the lockdown will have caused.

But my main point is that there isn’t one set of rules of conduct to which all must always conform. Instead, these rules are regularly suspended in the face of periodic emergencies. What’s right conduct at one time is wrong at another time. It is appropriate to raise an umbrella when it starts raining, and furl it when it stops raining.

I think Peter Hitchens is being rather silly.

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Extraterrestrial Ideas

I got my Orbit3D simulation model working yesterday, and used it to plot the orbit of huge, newly-discovered Comet C/2019 Y4 (Atlas):

In a near-parabolic orbit it reaches perihelion on 31 May 2020 as it descends through the solar system. Last time it passed by was 6000 years ago.

Many comets leave dust clouds along their orbits as material breaks off them, particularly while they near perihelion. These appear as periodic meteor showers on the surface of the Earth (e.g. Taurids, Leonids). Some people think that meteor showers could be the source of viral epidemics.

So while everyone is trying to blame each other for the Covid-19 pandemic. there is a possibility that nobody is to blame for it, because it came from outer space.

One piece of supportive evidence is that the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be largely restricted to the northern hemisphere (see map 1 April 2020 above). And this is where a dust cloud preceding Comet Atlas as it descends through the Solar System would be expected to land.

A second piece of supportive evidence might be the very rapid spread of the epidemic. This is what should be expected if the virus was landing simultaneously all over the northern hemisphere.

It’s currently believed that the pandemic began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. What if it was first noticed there because a great many epidemics seem to start there, and the Chinese are always watching out for them?

In addition, many people believe that the virus was in circulation for months before December 2019, because they’d been coming down with strange flu-like symptoms. I have myself been suffering from shortage of breath since 17 January 2020, and several commenters have reported suffering from similar or worse symptoms.

The new coronavirus is believed to be extremely highly infectious. But perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it appeared nearly everywhere in the northern hemisphere as an airborne virus falling slowly to Earth, and it’s this that gives it the illusion of high transmissivity. Aboard the Diamond Princess, it may have been only those passengers and crew who were on the open upper decks who inhaled the descending cloud of virus as they swam and played and sunbathed on just one particular day: passengers in bars and restaurants and shops and cabins below inhaled next to none. The Diamond Princess was quarantined on 4 February 2020, and assuming a two-week period before symptoms appeared, the date of the viral rain would have been in mid-January.

One test of this hypothesis would be to ask Diamond Princess passengers and crew a simple question: Did you spend much time on the open upper decks of the ship? If the results show that those who spent a long time on deck had more cases of Covid-19 than those who spent all their time below deck, it would suggest that the virus came from outside the ship, in the air around it.

If Comet Atlas has a very large companion stream of viral dust, the maximum density of the cloud would be reached at perihelion on 31 May. Covid-19 cases would tend to reach their maximum numbers around this time, with the Earth passing through the cloud for months. And currently the global pandemic indeed looks set to peak somewhere around this time.

If outbreaks of Covid-19 aren’t happening exactly simultaneously in China and Italy, it could be because the virus is not distributed uniformly in the Atlas dust cloud, so that one geographic region (China, Iran, Italy) may have been getting much denser viral clouds than others.

One explanation for the pandemic to have jumped from China to Italy is that Italy has lots of Chinese visitors. But isn’t the same true of almost everywhere else? And if the new coronavirus is solely spread by people, wouldn’t you expect to see Covid-19 diffusing slowly from one region to adjacent regions, rather than jumping long distances (like from China to Italy)?

Another explanation of the lower incidence of Covid-19 in the southern hemisphere may be that the past few months have been summer in the southern hemisphere, and it’s believed that viruses are neutralised by heat. If so, it will be interesting to see whether the northern hemisphere will experience the same thing during its upcoming summer months. If it doesn’t, it’ll be a bit more evidence for  an extra-terrestrial origin for the current pandemic.

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Study: Smokers Appear Less Likely to Be Hospitalised with COVID-19

There’s a certain incredulity expressed:

It makes intuitive sense that smoking ought to exacerbate a respiratory infection such as coronavirus. Indeed, earlier reports in the mainstream media reflected this view when very little was known about coronavirus, pointing out the obviousthat smoking damages your lungs and so do respiratory diseases. (my added emphases)

Does smoking damage your lungs? As a 50-year-long smoker of unfiltered roll-ups, my answer would be No. I never had the sense that I was damaging my lungs. I think I would have stopped if I did.

Try this question instead: Does jogging damage your legs? I’d bet that most joggers would say that jogging strengthens their legs. It’s non-joggers and anti-joggers like me who would point out how the impact of jogging on feet and knees must be damaging them. I always think that joggers are slowly killing themselves.

So I think that smoking strengthens your lungs in the same way that jogging strengthens your legs, and weight-lifting strengthens your arms, and doing almost anything a lot makes you better at it.

Another point is that more or less everything can be beneficial in some circumstances, maleficial in others. Water is essential for living things, but they can also drown in it. It’s never the case that anything is all good, or all bad.

But antismokers always try to portray smoking as all bad, in all and every respect. They won’t even allow that smokers might enjoy smoking: No, smokers only light up because they are “addicted”.

So what’s really dangerous about these new studies is that they are strongly suggesting that there might be something good about smoking. And that’s unthinkable for antismokers, even if it’s not unthinkable for anyone else. Antismokers believe that Smoking Always Kills.

Anyway, with the premier alt-right Breitbart news now running this story, a lot more people are going to hear about it. Which may be why my blog stats are reporting that in 12 hours today I’ve already had as many page views on my blog as I had all yesterday (about 800) and half of them are on my 18 Feb 2020 How To Prevent Coronavirus? Start Smoking. There is a lot of interest out there. In fact since I’ve been covering this story, the daily hit count on my blog has doubled, returning it to levels it used to have some 5 years ago.

It would be a terrible blow for Tobacco Control if tobacco is found to be protective against Covid-19. It would be a terrible blow for it to be found good for anything at all. So I expect to see Stanton Glantz et al. producing instant overnight studies that re-affirm the dangers of smoking. But there are now a lot of new people looking at tobacco, as a matter of considerable urgency, and many of them will be open-minded: they’ll want to know the truth. One question they’ve been asking is: Might what we’ve been seeing be the result of smokers stopping smoking as soon as they get Covid-19, perhaps because shortness of breath (a Covid-19 symptom) prevents them from smoking? But I’ve been suffering from shortness of breath for the past 2 months, and it hasn’t stopped me from smoking. In fact I usually feel slightly better for smoking, not slightly worse.

I’m beginning to wonder if smoking has always been used for medicinal purposes, rather than pleasure. It was held in high esteem during the Plague of 1665. Might this be the same reason why smoking greatly increased among soldiers during WW1 and WW2. I’ve hitherto thought that this was because smoking calmed their nerves. But maybe it was also that soldiers in trenches were in a cold, wet, unhealthy, outdoor environment, and smoking prevented respiratory disease in the same way as it appears to be doing now with Covid-19. For soldiers smoking may have seemed as protective as wearing a helmet, which was also something they didn’t want to do.

In this approach, smoking is something people start doing when they face respiratory health threats: they are fumigating their lungs.

Research has proven that burning sage removes a whopping 94% of bacteria in the air. When the researchers tested the air a day later, it was still clean.

It may explain the long term smoking-antismoking cycle: When the health threat subsides (the plague, the war, whatever) people stop smoking, because there ceases to be any benefit in doing so. During this period, antismokers who see no benefit in smoking appear in mounting numbers. And this continues until a new health threat emerges, which smoking helps prevent, at which smoking prevalence starts rising, and antismokers start vanishing again. We may be at one of those points in history when the health benefits of tobacco are being rediscovered.

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I live in a quiet English country town. It’s even quieter now. Pretty much all I can hear outside my window is the chirping of birds and gusts of wind.

I’ve been listening. I’ve only heard 3 cars in the last 30 minutes. Normally it’s 5 or 10 times that. And normally there’s the sound of lawnmowers and hedgecutters and the distant sounds from the new estate being built half a mile away. And occasional greetings exchanged. Children calling.

I have a neighbour who normally steps outside for a cigarette every half hour or so. I hear the clicking of his lighter. No sign of him today. Everyone is staying indoors, it seems. So is he smoking indoors now, or has he stopped smoking? I know he’s at home, because I’ve heard his dog bark once or twice: if he’s not at home the dog barks non-stop all day.

I haven’t been outside for weeks, since I started getting food delivered. And since I only ever shave when I go out, it means that I’m growing a beard.

In fact, shortly after food started being delivered by the local Tesco supermarket, it stopped being delivered. You have to book a delivery slot online. When I started there was next day delivery. Now all the delivery slots are booked solid for the next 3 weeks, despite Tesco doubling or tripling the number of delivery slots. My online delivery shopping days seem to have ended as soon as they’ve begun.

But I found that there’s an online pizza and kebab and burger delivery outfit in town. So I’ve been buying hamburgers and kebabs and pizzas, and (wonder of wonders) milkshakes that I haven’t bought in decades. So right now I’m living on reheated pizzas and burgers, with added milkshakes. I could happily live this way for months.

Another slight change: I’ve started drinking water, plain simple tap water. It’s partly because I’m finding that the milk that gets delivered goes off more quickly than usual, so I’m cutting down on using it. It means that when I do make a mug of tea, it tastes like ambrosia. Tea has never tasted better in recent days.

The aim of the lockdown is to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus. And if the rest of Britain is like it is round here, it’s going to stop it dead. And this is something that people are doing of their own volition: there’s no police or army presence, no loudspeakers ordering people around.

All the same, it must be a shock to most people to find everything shut: pubs and cafes and restaurants closed, shops closed, cinemas and theatres and art galleries closed.

It’s no shock to me. It’s  the way life has been for the past 13 years. British smokers have been under lockdown for 13 years since 1 July 2007. They’ve had no pubs and cafes and restaurants and shops and  cinemas and theatres and art galleries – none that they’re welcome in, leastways – for nearly 13 years. It’s why I never go anywhere: I’m unwelcome in my own country.

And now everybody is experiencing what smokers experience. Now everybody knows what it’s like to no longer have a local friendly pub or restaurant to visit, because that’s closed to them too now. Now everybody knows what “social distancing” is like, as they no longer see any of their friends.

One difference is that when (if?) the UK lockdown ends in few weeks time, the smokers’ lockdown will continue, and intensify. And that’s because the coronavirus lockdown is a response to a genuine (if slightly exaggerated) sudden health threat, while the smokers’ lockdown is a carefully planned piece of social engineering. The aim of smoking bans isn’t to protect anyone from anything: the aim of smoking bans is simply to stop people smoking.

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Death of the Experts


Britain’s drastic lockdown policy may be based on a flawed and unreliable model devised by a scientist with a track record of failure.

Professor Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, is the scientist behind the doomsday report that terrified Prime Minister Boris Johnson into imposing sudden and radical lockdown measures across the United Kingdom.

The report apocalyptically predicted that coronavirus could kill as many as 500,000 people in Britain if nothing was done to stop the spread of the disease.

Ferguson has since substantially revised down his death toll, saying it could be “substantially less than 20,000”. Colleagues at Imperial, however, have at times predicted a death toll even smaller than that — as few as 5,700 fatalities if the lockdown continues.

Rival scientists are increasingly critical of Ferguson’s original doomsday predictions, noting that his previous modelled forecasts have been found severely wanting.

Among his critics is Professor Michael Thrusfield of Edinburgh University, co-author of two reports highly critical of Ferguson’s mathematical modelling during the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis.

Ferguson’s predictive modelling — which helped persuade Tony Blair’s government to carry out a pre-emptive cull which led to the deaths of more than six million cattle, sheep and pigs and which cost the UK economy an estimated £10 billion — was subsequently described as “not fit for purpose.”

It’s not just Ferguson. It’s all of them. All their models are flawed and unreliable models. None of them know what they’re talking about.

Think about it. Nobody has any experience of what’s happening right now with coronavirus.. So there can be no ‘experts’. There are no experts who really know what they’re talking about. There are just a bunch of people who’ve been claiming to be experts in one thing or another, but one thing is becoming clear is that none of them really have a clue what they’re talking about.

It’s true about coronavirus. And it’s true about climate change. And it’s true about tobacco. And it’s true about the EU and politics and economics and everything else. None of them have a clue what they’re talking about. They’re all full  of hot air. And they’ve always just been full of hot air

I like James Delingpole, but he’s full of hot air too.  He talks about climate change like he understands the science, but I don’t think he understands the science at all. I’ve never seen him do any. Because there is no Climate Science. There are just lots of people who claim to know all about it, and they’re full of hot air as well.

The people to distrust are those who say; “Listen to me. I know all about it.” They’re the people who become “experts”, and who get funded – but only because they’re claiming to be experts. And now we’re finding out that none of them are experts about anything. They just made a good living pretending to be experts.

All the models are flawed, All the models are unreliable. And they’re always going to be flawed and unreliable. That’s the nature of a model: a model isn’t a perfect representation of reality. A model is always a simplified representation of something. There’ll be elements missing from it, which are thought to be unimportant.

I don’t believe anything that’s being said about coronavirus right now. I don’t believe any of the predictions that are being made. Why should I believe the predictions of people who have no previous experience of anything like this? They’re just guessing when they say that X number of people will die, or that the pandemic will last another Y months.

Ian Ferguson had a good run. He managed to fool a lot of people into thinking he was an expert. He wasn’t. But neither is anyone else. There are no experts out there that are expert about anything. And there never have been. And there never will be.

Sure, some people know more about some things than most other people. But they only know a little more. Not enough to call themselves experts.

If the coronavirus episode results in one thing, I hope it’s the mass extinction of self-styled experts.

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The Supremacy of Public Health

Peter Hitchens:

Perhaps we will emulate the French or Italian states, which have returned to their despotic origins and reduced their populations to a sort of cowering serfdom, barely able to step into the street.

I wonder whether there might also be restrictions on what can be said and published. I can see no necessary bar to this in the law involved.

Section 45 C (3) (c) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (appropriately enough) is the bit that does it. Once the Health Secretary believes there is a threat to public health, he has – or claims to have – limitless powers to do what he likes, ‘imposing or enabling the imposition of restrictions or requirements on or in relation to persons, things or premises in the event of, or in response to, a threat to public health’.

The former Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption doubts that the Act can be used in this way and warns: ‘There is a difference between law and official instructions. It is the difference between a democracy and a police state. Liberty and the rule of law are surely worth something, even in the face of a pandemic.’

It’s Public Health Above Everything.

Nothing else matters.

Might this be an occasion when people start to question the supremacy of Public Health?

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