Ongoing coronavirus happenings

Tips for safe social distancing:

  • Spray on lots of intense perfume or body cologne: Poison, Obsession, Axe, Genocide…
  • People will automatically distance themselves from you, keeping everyone safe.
  • Anyone coming closer obviously has no sense of smell. They are a zombie, kill them! They have COVID-19, keep away.

Dude, what the fuck?


Maybe the resident of the White House shouldn’t have been dismissive of how serious this is. This may not stop for her even after she hopefully recovers - she could have limited lung function for the rest of her life.


The data is still a bit rough in both cases, but by my reckoning, the UK is about 15 days behind Italy on the deaths curve.

Unless you filter for senior government officials, then the UK pandemic seems to be well and truly ahead of Italy. :thinking:


meanwhile, in the united states

In April 2012, a senior Health and Human Services official testified before Congress that the program was “on schedule to file for market approval in September 2013.” After that, the machines would go into production.

Then everything changed.

The medical device industry was undergoing rapid consolidation, with one company after another merging with or acquiring other makers. Manufacturers wanted to pitch themselves as one-stop shops for hospitals, which were getting bigger, and that meant offering a broader suite of products. In May 2012, Covidien, a large medical device manufacturer, agreed to buy Newport for just over $100 million.

Covidien — a publicly traded company with sales of $12 billion that year — already sold traditional ventilators, but that was only a small part of its multifaceted businesses. In 2012 alone, Covidien bought five other medical device companies, in addition to Newport.

Newport executives and government officials working on the ventilator contract said they immediately noticed a change when Covidien took over. Developing inexpensive portable ventilators no longer seemed like a top priority.

Newport applied in June 2012 for clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to market the device, but two former federal officials said Covidien had demanded additional funding and a higher sales price for the ventilators. The government gave the company an additional $1.4 million, a drop in the bucket for a company Covidien’s size.

Government officials and executives at rival ventilator companies said they suspected that Covidien had acquired Newport to prevent it from building a cheaper product that would undermine Covidien’s profits from its existing ventilator business.


Agreed. Best I can do for the next coupla days is this:

and it looks like you’re on that thread (yay!).

I’d add his approval of construction/operation of the Keystone XL pipeline over one of the biggest freshwater aquifers in North America–definitely right up there, regrettably. Irreversible contamination would damn untold generations in some far lengthier version of Flint. That pipeline has dumped petroleum twice already.


Is that name a just a coincidence?


which name?



Yes, it’s a coincidence. The name goes back to 2007 when Tyco Healthcare was spun off the conglomerate Tyco International, when the three main Tyco branches scrambled to re-brand after the Kozlowski scandal. Tyco Healthcare was a combination of a huge number of acquisitions, including Kendall, US Surgical, Mallinkrodt, and Puritan Bennett.

Covidien is now under Medtronic.


OMG. Let a hundred conspiracy theories bloom.


Hah! It’s one of those bullshit trademarkable kinda-words that companies paid consultants millions for back in the early aughts. See also “Altria”.


Looks like infants may not be immune, although investigation is pending and one can never be certain about statistics from China.


They still do. It’s just that the trend in branding/naming has shifted from cobbling together a nonsense word from 2-3 real words (Covidien - cooperation - provide - ambien(?)) to a completely unrelated word that you take over (Uber/Bird/Lime/Twitter/Slack).


Well, the “problem” with the latter is that they are regular words, and therefore not completely trademarkable: only in conjunction with a subject or logo.

I’m sure the people who dreamt (hey Google, dreamt is a fucking word you stupid, lazy twits) up Covidien hoped that they could then use that trademark to prevent journalists from referring to them. Not an unreasonable idea given the direction of IP law in the last 30 years.


Great watch via @jwz’s blog:


Just one thing re:data gatherers - while I haven’t had the time to play with the numbers myself, colleagues and friends are. And the report they are livid due to the delivery of the data, e.g., by the ECDC. Badly standardised Excel files, e.g. proprietary software and no checks of data consistency. Changing variables. Changing location of the files.

I’ve seen similar from people in the US. Someone complained on twitter that even the DATE wasn’t standardised.

The media noticed some two weeks ago that Johns Hopkins University data and Robert Koch Institute data weren’t comparable, and some media even tried to explain why.

However, communication-wise and for all analysts, this situation is not only annoying. I find it at least slightly dangerous. Conspiracy stuff will grow on this like hallucinogenic mushroom on a bull’s faeces.


Not surprised. I worked for the US census in 2010 and the federal gov. sent us data in the form of a huge text file. Some of us cobbled together a program to extract the needed info and put it in a spreadsheet file.