COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

wipeout comments

Posted in: How effective are lockdowns in stopping the spread of a pandemic like the coronavirus? For example, a lockdown does not seem to have worked in New York. How important are cultural factors, lifestyle and way of working in determining whether a lockdown will be effective or not? See in context

a lockdown does not seem to have worked in New York

1) Give it enough time to kick in properly. The shelter-in-place request/order was issued on March 20. That's barely two weeks.

2) Define what "worked" is supposed to mean. Signs of a drop in daily confirmed infections?

The lockdown is already working if people who would ordinarily be going out into the city and mingling with the general population are no longer doing so. A high level of infection was already an established fact and an ongoing disaster in New York. Drastically reducing the opportunities for further and uncontrolled infection is about all that can be done to attack that.

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Posted in: Fujifilm starts Avigan trial to treat coronavirus See in context

A team of Danish researchers, looking for a way to protect pregnant women against malaria, found that proteins in the malaria parasite can attack cancer cells. The discovery is a potential game-changer in the hunt for a cure for cancer.

And can be added to the list of other potential game changers. A search for this - as you didn't say where you got the information - mostly throws up reports from 2015. Invariably, they mention a trial in mice. As anyone who has dug a little deeper than credulous news reports prepared by credulous writers already knows, mouse models are definitely not a reliable indicator of whether success can be expected in clinical trials.

If the headline contains bait along the lines of "a cure for cancer", you may as well just move along without reading. It's in a class with concepts like "perpetual motion machine" or "cold fusion".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: UK coronavirus deaths rise by 27% See in context

Is that true? I don't know if it's the same case, but in the BBC article below, according to his parents, the boy had no underlying health issues.

No it isn't true, just something that commenter took upon himself to assume.

And the thing about "with the virus, not from the virus" is a distortion of the concept. If the coronavirus infection triggered breathing difficulties for the child, with a rapid deterioration resulting in death (in this case, about four days), then the child died from the virus, even if there were comorbidities.

Arguing otherwise is like picking out the ultimate cause of death for any patient - pneumonia, cardiac arrest, dehydration - and deciding that the disease that brought it on, whether it's cancer, HIV/AIDS, cholera, or whatever - was not responsible.

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Posted in: Tokyo records most new coronavirus cases in a day as pressure for lockdown builds See in context

Also, Im not hating on Chinese, I actually sometimes find them more easier to get along with than Japanese. What I dont understand however is why this year the virus made the jump from bat to chicken? to human, after centuries of wet markets and exposure. Why this year? They are saying mutation, but that seems odd.

Why 2003 with SARS? Or 2013 with H7N9? Or 1997 with H5N1?

There is nothing especially unexpected or puzzling about zoonotic infection, nothing especially unusual about them becoming epidemic/pandemic, and nothing especially unusual about them emerging (or first being observed) in China. For a variety of reasons, China happens to be a particularly suitable environment for these to develop. H7N9 was and remains a particular concern, but equally, there's no reason to assume the next pandemic would have any connection with it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Mercedes F1 team helps to develop breathing aid in pandemic See in context

According to John Campbell, who I have been following since someone on JT recommended him

Yes, a good source of information. And he was extremely positive about what Mercedes are doing here, and the beneficial value of those devices. He covers it just after the 12-minute mark here:

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo records most new coronavirus cases in a day as pressure for lockdown builds See in context

@ smartacus

And if I did go to a clinic and was tested positive, it would be mild

Would it? Mild can rapidly progress to serious or life-threatening, no matter who you are.

I would self-isolate, which I do anyway if have a bad cold.

What's your plan if you can't breathe - continued self-isolation? Because those are the people who have been flooding the hospitals in cities across the world.

More importantly, being tested positive doesn't determine the infection route, from whom I got it, or whether I infected myself.

Hardly a profound observation. It's obviously not testing for any of those things, but it does provide data that can be used in a wider context. At the moment, Japan is opting to fly blind instead. That brings the risk of massively increased infection rates - especially in the continued absence of social distancing - and the sudden emergence of a problem that is already out of control.

Tokyo has exceeded 500 cases. New York was at 421 confirmed cases on July 13. Now, less than three weeks later, it's closing in on 30,000 while the US has almost 170,000. The UK had 460 confirmed cases on March 11. Now it has 22,500.

There's no special set of circumstances that makes Japan or its people immune to a mass outbreak of this disease. It's highly infectious, extremely dangerous, and handwashing and masks are insufficient to stop it spreading. And now the danger signals that preceded mass outbreaks elsewhere have all been seen.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump nixes quarantine idea for NY, NJ and Connecticut See in context


That seems like a good idea, try to isolate the virus as much as possible and centralize it more. Well, he’s finally listening to his medical and military staff, good on him.

Change direction. He's already canned it.


He may have to include Louisiana in that quarantine.

Change direction. He's already canned it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo confirms 63 new coronavirus cases, a record daily increase See in context

So about 60% of the cases are coming from two sources. Which is good news, because now they know the sources, they have good chance of containing the outbreak and bringing the numbers down.

They don't know the "sources". They know a couple of places where the disease has gone through the whole building. They can now try to stop further spread of the disease into and out of those buildings - or even just evacuate them. How the disease got in, and how far it spread out from those buildings isn't necessarily known, or going to be, especially if tracing and testing is done in a half-arsed fashion.

There will be other facilities in Japan right now that would yield dozens of positive test results, but without more willingness to find and test, we're not going to know that until this problem is much larger than it looks right now. Until each of those places is found, the disease simply spreads. And spreads. And spreads.

Explain again how "I don't see a problem" works?

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Posted in: Tokyo confirms 63 new coronavirus cases, a record daily increase See in context


Everything I have read says that the virus only results in mild symptoms for 80% of people. We can live with that. 

You can't. Because you might be one of the people who doesn't have mild symptoms. If you develop severe pneumonia, you might die, as so many already have. If you survive, you will be far more ill than you imagine. It won't feel like coexistence, or some neat calculation that you're comfortable with the idea of it happening to other people.

It also ought to be obvious to you by now that health services can't coexist with it either. Staff are getting infected and dying. When the health service is crippled, you don't get the treatment you need when you need it.

This is what it can be like:

I know you think this won't happen to you. But so did a lot of people who found themselves in the same position as this man.

What this disease can do to people and to communities is horrifying.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo governor says people can enjoy cherry blossoms next year See in context

Because the next election is near, I'm sure she will come up with something else soon.

Ventilators, you hope.

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Posted in: Tokyo governor says people can enjoy cherry blossoms next year See in context

Very slow. If more people really had the disease, more people would be dying, considering its contagiousness. Even allowing for a long incubation period, it’s very low.

I’m not saying be foolish. But why not look at what Japan is doing right compared to other countries? Keeping clean and just a usual polite distance. Instead of listening to these crazy commenters on here.

If I may...

Without adequate testing, infection numbers are both unknown and impossible to estimate with confidence. The figure I have for testing, from this site

is 24,669 total. Very few tests in a country of more than 125,000,000. Internationally, it puts Japan way down the rankings among advanced countries for testing its population. What we do know is that the disease has infected people in all of Japan, as it has infected people in all of the world. What we can assume with certainty is that far more people are infected in Japan than the confirmed totals show.

What the disease does is put the infected at risk of severe pneumonia. That frequently requires hospitalization of the patient, and of those, many must go into intensive care, where places are limited. Because of that, the collapse of normal operation of the healthcare system is very sudden. Added to that, health workers become infected, and some die.

Less testing increases the risk of this happening. Complacency and ignorance do not decrease the risk in any way at all. Currently, Japan is opting for complacency and ignorance. This is a gamble that, like any gamble, does have a chance of succeeding. But from what is already known about this disease, the likelihood of failure is very high, and the cost of failure is even higher.

why not look at what Japan is doing right compared to other countries?

Because it's doing a lot of things wrong, and it's about 8 months too early to be performing victory laps.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: UK health minister says 560,000 volunteers sign up to help NHS See in context

Make sure that they all have the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), before getting close to any infected patients. 

They're not even making sure that medical staff have that. The PPE advice was downgraded recently, so medical staff are now using - being forced to use - a lower level of protection than they originally used to treat coronavirus patients.

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Posted in: COVID-19 lung patterns show few clues for treating pneumonia See in context

Actually not, seems scientist have known for a long time that bats in caves in Africa have thousands of viruses to include Ebola and HIV

Not HIV.

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Posted in: What is herd immunity and will it affect the pandemic? See in context

Where is the proof of herd immunity?

The concept is so well understood by everyone except vaccine maniacs that it doesn't have to supported with evidence every time it's mentioned. Just one of those things - like the speed of light, the age of the earth, evolution of humans, the structure of atoms, chemical composition of water, the electromagnetic spectrum, and similar schoolroom science great and small - that can be referred to without elaboration, and anyone who's not up to speed on the whether or why of it can (and should) look it up for themselves.

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Posted in: WHO message to youth on coronavirus: 'You are not invincible' See in context

Youth have a statistically low chance of dying from the virus-certainly not a reason to be fearful or give up ordinary daily life...

They also have a statistically low chance of dying from a broken leg, HIV, measles, or malaria, but those are all things they should really want to avoid, and should take sensible precautions to do so.

With injury or disease, it's not all about whether it kills you or doesn't. There are a lot of bad consequences of falling sick, one of them - some young people will be painfully aware of this, and it will also appeal to the more self-centred among them - loss of wages.

But falling sick in itself is nasty, and often a bit more than that. You really shouldn't be indifferent about the possibility of ending up in hospital for an extended stay (apart from anything, ruinously expensive in some countries). Or about the possibility of contracting pneumonia, which is extremely unpleasant even when it's not life-threatening. Or about the possibility of passing around infection which runs out of control, pushing hospitals and medical staff to the brink - and then over.

This is why ordinary daily life is being temporarily set aside in many parts of the world now. Frankly, it's not especially important whether young people are fearful or not, or are being inconvenienced. It's important that they understand what's happening, and understand that their help in slowing this down is necessary. That does mean giving up ordinary daily life for a while.

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Posted in: Warnings fail to stop Japanese crowds from viewing cherry blossoms See in context

Besides, Japan's healthcare system is well equipped to deal with any possible outbreak.

I wouldn't recommend that your bet your life on that. Every country put to the test so far has struggled. What makes you think Japan would be different?

Countries are shutting down normal life now in a desperate attempt not to go through that. For some of them, it will prove to have been too late. As to what "that" is, and what Japan may soon also experience:

Hospitals rapidly running out of protective clothing and equipment.

Doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff worked to exhaustion and far beyond.

Doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff becoming infected.

Hospitals being overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

ICUs running at full capacity, unable to take in new patients.

The last point should particularly concern you. If you happen to need it, and they can't provide it, the chances are you're going to die, and not pleasantly. It's easy to deceive yourself into believing you won't need it. That's a delusion; you might. So might people you actually care about.

Here's where Britain is at, in the view of one doctor.

It's completely possible that Japan will find itself in a similar position within days or weeks. As we have seen, the system collapses fast. But the public in this country have allowed themselves to be lulled into boredom, weariness, and complacency, so if it does happen, there are going to be some very surprised people getting turned away from hospitals.

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Posted in: Warnings fail to stop Japanese crowds from viewing cherry blossoms See in context


Alright, so if this is really such a huge risk these people are taking it should mean that within a few days to 1-2 weeks we should see a huge uptick in new virus cases right?

No, in line with the definition of the word risk, it means that widespread infection is possible as a result of crowds coming together at this time.

And if not, will you all pledge to sign your apologies in another article at that time?


Back to the actual issue: if there is a sudden increase in cases, hospitals and the healthcare system will be burdened to the point of collapse. This is the reason for the closedowns in countries across the world. It has finally been brought home to the leaders that they are weeks or days away from disaster. In some countries it's already happened; in others it's going to happen despite current measures; but they are at least finally responding.

What's going on here seems to be based not in the knowledge that the worst is over or has been avoided altogether, but in choosing not to know what's happening at all. That's a gamble, and if Japan is lucky, it will get away with it. Equally possible, as people seem to have decided that it's all over, is that infection is spreading and a disaster is developing while people's attention is elsewhere.

If large numbers of us in Japan do need medical assistance in the near future, and by that time it simply isn't available, we can't pretend we had no idea it could go that way. It's what's already happening in London, Spain, and New York, and set to happen in many other places besides.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Virus advances around the world as medical supplies dwindle See in context

Trump did respond quickly. He introduced travel restrictions while Joe Biden was claiming "walls dont stop a virus"

As indeed they didn't.

And Trump was boasting 2 weeks ago that he would be holding "tremendous rallies". Evidently he was refusing to listen to his own experts, considering that within 2 weeks of saying it, the country has shut down and the economy has smashed into a wall. He made the claim at Mar a Lago, in the presence of Jair Bolsanaro, among people who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

On March 16, Trump made a thing about West Virginia being the only state with no confirmed cases. He beat the emergence of the first case by about 24 hours; there are now 12 known cases.

This isn't leadership, it's imbecility. The fact that cases are going to rise, and rise a lot, is not just predictable but inevitable. To say the opposite right before it happens, and against all advice from medical experts, is insane.

Expect more of the same.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Winter is coming and New Zealand rugby braces as virus hits See in context

This virus does not seem concerned about the weather as other coronus did.

Yeah well you can't really expect it to do what the others supposedly did when they didn't do it either. Scientifically speaking, that's about as dumb as it gets.

If you care to know when and where MERS happened, there's some information here:

And SARS here:

Both these disease spread in countries that aren't cold, and at warm/hot times of year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: The Japan conundrum is just the fact that if you don't test for it, you're not going to find a lot of cases. See in context

Even if there a thousand time more cases in Japan, if the symptoms are mild and or the people are asymptomatic, there is no need to worry. 

But they definitely won't be mild for everyone - that is not new information - so you should at least be concerned that Japan may be setting itself up for a fall. If it does come, the facilities, equipment, and trained staff will be insufficient to handle the number of cases. That is not just possible, but inevitable if it happens suddenly enough. As other countries are finding, it can happen very suddenly indeed.

I get the sense that Japan is already congratulating itself that this thing has passed by. It's far too early to start believing that.

It is another coronavirus. I think there are four others.

Yeah. You've really grasped it.

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Posted in: The Japan conundrum is just the fact that if you don't test for it, you're not going to find a lot of cases. See in context

How are you guys still doubting Japan has been able to control its cases, how can this virus be spreading and no and people dying in secret without any word out there?

The virus can spread because asymptomatic people who are infected can (invariably do) infect others. There is a considerable lag between that and the surges in deaths that have been seen in some countries.

That's how it can happen. And the problem can be exacerbated where countries are reluctant, or apparently in Japan's case, absolutely refuse, to test widely.

You don't want a surge in deaths to suddenly occur while you're still wittering about not having noticed a problem yet, because it immediately pushes the healthcare system to breaking point.

Hence the need for testing of all possible cases rather than selling the public a line of empty reassurance - the same mistake that many countries have already made, and eventually learned to regret.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: The Japan conundrum is just the fact that if you don't test for it, you're not going to find a lot of cases. See in context

at present testing or not testing, there hasn’t been a jump in cases

I assume you wouldn't recommend waiting for a jump in cases before bothering to increase testing though. New York State went from a pleasingly modest 22 cases on 3 March to 11,700 today, and rising fast. That's a full-blown emergency that they didn't see coming. Their health system is already struggling to handle the number of serious cases. This is likely to be repeated in multiple locations in the United States.

I can't think of any reasons why the same couldn't happen here, and testing would either reveal a problem Japan already has, and needs to address immediately, or allow better monitoring of the spread of infection so that appropriate measures can be taken.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan offering more options for vegans See in context

I was rather thinking about the fact that fatty meat is popular, that vegetables in the usual teishoku consist of only shredded cabbage, that Japanese white rice being the worst type of rice especially for diabetics, and that sugar and MSG is found everything.

No doubt you were. But white rice sustains people across the planet, and in countries where rice is the staple, white rice is almost invariably preferred over brown. I ain't going to be the one to lecture people that they should be eating something else. I'll just assume that Thais - for example - are eating exactly the rice they want to eat, and leave it at that.

The other stuff you mention is mainly the obsession of health zealots. Separate from that, and more important, is the fact that some countries, Japan among them, have generally healthy diets, and others, Britain among them, rather less so.

Before the Meiji era, people never really ate much meat

So people like to say. There is a tendency, particularly among vegetarians and vegans, to romanticize the diets of earlier generations. In this fantasy world, people the world over ate hardly any meat, if they even ate it at all. Even if true, and that's very disputable, it doesn't help us much. Life back then for many was monotonous, unpleasant, squalid, and unfair.

The only non-vegetarian stuff was seafood.

Doubtful, for those who lived far from the sea and could find non-vegetarian sources of food in the mountains and forests. They were surrounded by it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe says schools to reopen after spring break; remains cautious about big events See in context

I wonder, as the weather gets warmer, is the spread is decelerating?

If you're talking about Japan, you'll need to keep wondering, as the picture from testing is a hopeless indicator.

The relative lack of fatalities and emergency cases is a better indicator, but only in the sense that it's something that's not happening right now. It doesn't tell you anything about what will be happening 2 or 3 weeks from now, or about how the disease is spreading today, let alone whether spread is slowing down or speeding up.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan offering more options for vegans See in context

Unlike many developed countries around the world, I can't really see any increase or interest in the Japanese public when it comes to veganism or healthy eating.

The (supposed) lack of interest in healthy eating might be because the starting point isn't, for example, a 1960s British-style diet.

The (genuine) lack of interest in veganism and vegetarianism is the norm in this part of the world. There are a few - very few - people who follow a vegetarian diet for religious reasons, as there are in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea. Vegetarianism isn't popular in Southeast Asia either, except among people of Indian or Sri Lankan descent - specifically, Hindu, Buddhist and a few smaller religions, but generally not Christians or Muslims. Sikhs can be vegetarian or not.

Those two regions of the world have a combined population of more than 2.2 billion people. Then there are other regions where vegetarianism - let alone veganism - is close to invisible. I would suggest Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, Poland, all of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, - if we were to tally up, probably the majority of countries in Europe. Then the whole of Africa, most if not all of the Middle East, and the whole of Central and South America.

The situation doesn't seem likely to change much, without other significant cultural shifts occurring first. At best some restaurants are going to offer some vegetarian options, often provided with not much care or interest (as was the case in Britain until quite recently). Others won't bother at all. As for vegan restaurants, many more would appear if there was sufficient commercial demand, but vegans themselves aren't exactly leading the charge.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China See in context

Makes sense that Italy leads all other European nations in the rising toll of virus victims considering whom its garment industry does business with.

I'd need to drink a six-pack and about 8 shots before I could get that comment to make sense on any level at all.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Job losses pile up in U.S., Europe as virus shuts businesses See in context

What blows me out in watching the BBC news, is the lack of savings that people have.Talking about grown,married adults with kids saying how they gonna pay next month's rent! Huh! I even checked with the missus today how long we could not work.It was more than a month.

It's a debt-driven economy. A whole generation has been (intentionally) conditioned to believe that debt is unavoidable. If you have two modest ambitions in life, to receive higher education and to own a house or flat, you are looking, to achieve the first of them, at accumulating tens of thousands of pounds in debt before ever having worked a full time job and to achieve the second, to take on a mortgage worth 5 or 6 years' salary where once bank managers were reluctant to grant one worth more than 3 years' salary.

Sending kids from high school into university to rack up huge debts and then be crapped out into a hostile job market isn't a great lesson in responsible living. A credit card shoved into the hands of an 18-year old will exacerbate the damage.

I was brought up in a generation that, by and large, feared debt - with good reason. I now feel very lucky not to have been born 20 years later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China See in context

A sad news, though most victims in Italy were very old or chronically ill. Medical professionals were among them, too; another crucial factor for this fiasco. 

It was a predictable one. Medical professionals became infected and died in other epidemics, notably SARS: that's one thing (it's not the only factor but it's certainly an important one) that can cripple the health system quickly.

I would assume most people, other than hardcore idiots, are eventually more aware that an epidemic can be a huge threat to them and their way of life. Kind of hard to ignore by this point. The information has always been there, but it's been widely ignored or misinterpreted by the general public.

That's why very recently, a commenter on this site suggested that the precautions seen in this photo seemed a bit extreme:!/image/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.JPG

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump focuses attention on possible coronavirus treatments See in context

Trump has every reason to take the utmost precautions and the safety of the nation seriously

Then first he'll have to learn that vaccines aren't ready to go, but need to be put through extensive and time-consuming testing first. The people who actually on a professional basis do understand these things - certainly not Trump, who recently claimed "People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?"  - have made clear that a vaccine should not be expected during the present outbreak.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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