Our hedge fund has to study all types of scientific, medical, politics and finance information related to COVID-19, communicating with friends in Wuhan China (where virus started) daily. Our finding indicates that Trump’s advisers give wrong messaging and advice to him and public; while rejected the only proven correct method to fight COVID-19. US is on wrong path. For the purpose of helping American and other countries from being run-over by this virus, our research team summarized of what we found in 3 parts: 1. Big Difference of COVID-19 vs Flu; 2. Policy and Messaging failure in USA and UK; 3. What works and doesn’t work on controlling COVID-19.
Part 1: Big Difference of COVID-19 vs Flu:
COVID-19 is NOT a flu virus. It is a 0.5 micrometer diameter, ball-shaped virus, with dozens of coronas stick out. You can think of coronavirus as dozens of “keys” stick out on a basketball. When any one of the key sticks onto ACE2(Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2) on the surface of human cell in the lung wall, the “key” will unlock the cell wall and virus’ RNA will enter the cell. Then the virus will use the production line of human cell to mass-produce new virus. The healthy human cell in our lung will burst and die, resulting in less lung cell to exchange oxygen. While resulting debris of dead cell will pollute our blood, stress and overwhelm our kidney. Because the coronavirus has so many attacking “keys”, these ball type of virus can attack in any angle, this high efficiency makes them far more contagious than any flu; and the ensue infection also progresses faster once entering human cell than flu.
Life or death is a race between multiplying of virus vs your body’s searching for an antibody. Youth have more healthy lung cell and also has faster generation of antibody, thus lower death rate. Everyone, young and old, doesn’t have any immunization on COVID-19, so everyone is at risk of infection. All suffer some degree of permanently damaged lung cell and kidney cell. Most people can recover 100% from flu; but all people will suffer certain degree of lung damage permanently after COVID-19. Reducing oxygen exchange machine will cause lower quality of life. Suzhou (in China) just save a COVID-19 patient by implanting and replacing patient’s lung. So permanent damage to lung is real.
Because the virus’ genetic mRNA mutates very fast, vaccine or medicine can work in one day and may not work later. This is precisely why HIV is hard to cure. Also, COVID-19’s reproduction is using the production line of human cell, there are not many steps that can be interrupted to stop its reproduction cycle because we cannot modify healthy cell. Most antibody works by strong affiliate to active site of enzyme or target, it works better for concave types of active site rather than extrude out key of COVID-19, because concave can have more surface and thus easier to affinity. So it is extremely hard to make COVID-19 vaccine or antibody by either human immune system or researcher(most testing COVID-19 vaccines or drugs right now, will prove to be no more than free advertisement. People has been talking about vaccine for HIV will be available since 1980s, 40 years now, no HIV vaccine is available. Vaccine candidates have a failure rate of 93% ). It has the combination of super contagious, 100% population susceptible, 36 times more death rate than flu (in both China, Iran and most other place, people don’t want to waste test kits on people already dead, so the actual rate is higher). Each of the three characters is much more potent than flu virus. In addition, COVID-19 permanently damages lung cell while flu normally does not have permanent damage. Boris Johnson’s talk of building immunization via infection is like getting HIV to get immunization.
Part 2: Policy and Messaging failure in USA and UK:
Trump has education in economy, has zero education in medical. He is good at how to manage economy but will be disastrous if he make decision on how to handle this incredible contagious disease. Pence also said in one press conference a few days ago that “Trump and I don’t know medicine, all advice comes from our medical experts”. Let’s exam what Trump said below:
a) “surgeon general said it is just a flu-like virus”, “death rate is similar to flu”.
b) “the virus only impact elderly with underlying disease”.
c) “the virus might magically disappear once summer come”.
When comparing Covid-19 to flu, Trump, Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci all claim only elderly people with underlying disease are at risk, that message has terribly damaging impact on the effort to stop this virus: married are mostly home-bound, young people are the most social and party oriented. Moreover, that simply is NOT true: up to Feb 24, China has 3387 doctors and nurses got infected, 33 of them already dead, majority of them are in the age of 20s~40s, including Dr. Wenliang Li who was 33 and very healthy; another healthy nurse at 21 also died. Here is also a British mother showing how it is like to get COVID-19. Italy so far has 3475 health care professional infected, which can see how potent of this virus. I can understand government or CDC want to reduce their own fault by attributing the deaths to patients’ own age and health problem, instead of incompetent response. But we should not contradict with truth and let worry-free youth partying in beach of Florida. The party youth in Miami beach and around the country are destroying themselves and their family.
I can understand Trump and Pence misunderstood the virus; but it is shocking to see Dr. Birx publicly talk in White House press conference of identical message: “Only impact elderly with underlying health problem”. “Summer will cause less problem; you can see most flu suppressed in Summer”. Did not she know that Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, right now, are in Summer and still have COVID-19 problem? Trump and Pence’s messages are identical to Dr. Adams and Dr. Birx, these messages should stem from these doctors.
1. Surgeon general Adams specialize in Anesthesiology which has nothing to do with transmitting disease, yet he suggested to Trump that COVID-19 is like flu; also he said: “(mask) are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients”. If mask is not effective, how come it is effective for healthcare provider? European and American hardly wear masks, while mask is very effective and can reduce infection up to about 20 times! It is one of the primary reasons that Asian are doing so well in suppressing COVID-19.
2. Dr. Birx keeps saying that China’s draconian lockdown and reduction in cases, might not be kept once people resuming public gathering and working. She is deadly wrong and misleading Trump. Once stamping out COVID-19, both China and Taiwan started rigorous early detecting and isolating every imported case(China even tracking Chinese with Iran travel, who try to avoid quarantine by transiting from Moscow, isolating and quarantining them as soon as they landed at Beijing airport); China makes mask mandatory in most public places and measuring temperature twice in workplaces as a condition of operation. By quickly removing virus source and breaking the transmission path via using mask, Both China and Taiwan have proved that resuming work don’t contradict to containing the virus. That worked well and Dr.Birx rejected the only working method without carefully examining it. It is shocking to hear that she refused the only success that has been proved in four places: Taiwan, Singapore, Hongkong and China.
CDC made fatal mistake by stringent high bar for testing COVID-19; then delaying weeks to try to create its own test kit; Dr. Redfield, the CDC director, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx are all CDC scientists and career politician who did research on HIV vaccine (they are buddies); all 3 of them and Surgeon general Adams are all more chemists than clinic doctors and they are not expert in respiratory disease epidemic. Why are we allowing Anesthesiologist and HIV vaccine chemists to dictate policy on how to control highly contagious respiratory disease COVID-19? Why they all said they will let Trump, who hardly know virus or medical, make final decision? America is setting up a national hospital that is staffed by chemists and economic degree(Trump) to treat COVID-19 patients and pandemic. It looks like a disaster and is heading to a disaster.
These PhDs’ made false suggestion on controlling respiratory disease COVID-19 because their expertise of HIV vaccine research is more about the studying of molecular interaction (chemistry domain), they are very, very different from epidemic respiratory diseases. They are promising a COVID-19 vaccine is coming while themselves failed to find a HIV vaccine after their failed 40 years on it. The cost of using these fake experts can be disastrous for USA because their naive and sloppy methods in controlling this pandemic will not work well and COVID-19 can dragging on for months. Especially when you have a Trump who also try to serve as the decision maker of controlling an super epidemic disease. The decision maker should be a respiratory epidemic expert but none of the Trump team is one.
Part 3: What works and doesn’t work on controlling COVID-19
The effective policy is clearly visible from the chart by Financial Time journalist Steve Bernard, Cale Tilford and John Burn-Murdoch. In most western countries，case numbers have been increasing by about 33 per cent a day, a sign that other western countries may soon be facing the same challenge as Italy. The Asian city-state of Singapore and the territory of Hong Kong are on a different trajectory in terms of the growth in case numbers.
Taiwan has only 135 COVID-19 cases in total, with vast majority imported. It is the best example despite it has the biggest amount of investment, business, friend and relative connections with China. The internal cases are mostly limited to family or medical roommates. They provide an excellent example as how to contain imported cases that can be learned by America and west.
The above chart indicates that: US’s trend is strikingly similar to European countries. With less rigorous controlling than Italy, Spain and France, US is making the same mistake of earlier Italy. Trump’s policy means the life and death of American people and economy, thus he should not take any chance; should not wondering around and testing trial and error(both Fauci and Trump often said “I think it will get better”); we should just go straight to what has been proved working: the Taiwan COVID-19 success. People around Trump keep saying: “We let the president decide”. Come on! Trump and Pence has zero medical training, The PhDs around him are chemists instead of epidemic expert in respiratory disease. American boat is steered by people who don’t know steering.
Asian has proved that the combination of the following works on both stamping out the virus and stopping imported cases:
1. Strong sense of risk and fear about COVID-19 with all society mobilized to fight the virus seriously(west made mistake in downplaying and talking of similar to flu)
2. The earliest detection, strict isolation in controlled hospitals, can’t stay home to infect family and others. You only need one maverick virus carrier to produce havoc in a city.
3. Vast majority wearing mask, mask can reduce the chance of infection by 10~20 times. A Korea lady infected hundreds in church gathering, clearly indicted social distance is false sense of security. Droplets from our talking, singing and sneeze, will quickly dry into aerosol and float dozens of meters away (US and EU’s talk of 2 meter distance, is clearly indication that he/she is NOT respiratory disease expert and not very intelligent). All success so far supported by masks.
4. Measuring temperature in all public space, call to check risky returnee’s temperature and people in quarantine; fine on reckless spread and lie about travelling history
5. Strict shutdown in serious areas.
The main problem in the west lies in their sloppiness in every 5 areas of the above implementation. Similar to Italy, the Trump team are all cocky and dismissive on COVID-19 until they are forced by brutal reality of COVID-19. Instead of scientifically and proactively as in the Asian countries, they tend to be very self-confident that democracy is panacea, dismissive of robust and scientific Asian approach (Dr. Birx). Trump team’s advice show their shocking lack of basic science (mask, fake 2-meter distance, Asian robust approach, similar to flu, hot weather, Dr. Birx’s deny robust Asian approach)…… they are a team of naive and incompetent and their sloppiness will cause problem in controlling the COVID-19. The virus doesn’t know you are American, democracy or authoritarian. A lot of west democracies are busily talking on economy, hospital, respirator, ventilator in facing COVID-19…. but not focusing on breaking the chain of transmission. This military grade virus will run-over you because every day it become 33% bigger problem and you can’t ramp up anything faster than that exponential growth rate of 33% (when you see most western countries make the same mistakes, you have to ask why stupidity so wide-spread). China and Italy each has over 3000, Spain has 9000 medical profession get COVID-19 and NYC has 1000 police get the it, which shows the incredibly contagious virus.
Why are Trump team still talking about economy and ICU when the problem has 33% exponential growth rate? What you do has growth rate over 33% each day? Dr. Richard Hatchett also said COVID-19 is the most lethal virus in his career. It is utterly foolish and crazy to try to think business as usual and still bickering on finance bills, ICU beds, respirator …… to test new method, to test your ability and intelligence, to pretend America are invincible, all foolish! Go straight to what has been proved working! too much is at stake!…… Listen to Italy doctor’s advice: “Shutdown!”
US should enforce country-wide robust lockdown for a month immediately! this is the only way that has proven working; shutdown everything for a month, then American will come out strong and we can continue as the greatest nation on earth. The lockdown should ban all public transport including air and buses. Half-hearted method will only cause overwhelmed hospital like Italy; American already get far less serious on the virus than Asian, without mask (20 times reduction), the only way to control is complete lockdown.
Trump is advised by wrong PhDs, who are all more of chemists and career politicians than clinic doctors; they are not experts in respiratory disease and have been giving wrong suggestion and messaging for both public and Trump repeatedly. It is urgent that Trump’s team should seek advice from Dr. Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan doctor and vice president who successfully controlled both SARS and COVID-19, and Dr. Richard Hatchett who is CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Dr. Woo-Joo Kim who successfully fight SARS, MERS, COVID-19 in South Korea. USA needs the successful and experienced leaders in respiratory pandemic, Trump’s team are failed HIV chemists who has zero experience on COVID-19 and zero knowledge on respiratory disease, who have repeatedly given wrong advice to Trump and public. Trump is in state of shock, frustration and angry; and he is fumbling around with secondary and less urgent tasks such as economy or vaccine or respirator, with no good expert or advice in sight. America with a blindsided and ill-advised driver and passengers, facing a gigantic risk of all medical break down, widespread bankruptcy and huge number of people with damaged lung, within 3 weeks. Talking vaccine and medicine that are far away from 3 weeks doesn’t make any sense. Shutdown now! Just one day delay, it becomes 33% bigger problem, no ICU bed, doctor, medicine, respirator….. can grow 33% each day (can’t imagine all things has been done so far are on less critical parts; Foolishness at national decision team is appalling and repeating). Freezing the society for a month is the only and proven way to solve the COVID-19, and the least costly path to completely fix the problem (just freeze in time, no material damage to a country, 100% recovery a month later). China central bank just announces that its finance and economy will fully recover next month, defying mostly dire predictions of western economists.
In addition to robust lockdown, Trump must change medical advisers and messaging to enforcing mask on all public place. Let government assume temporary control of mask manufacture and significantly ramp up mask production 100x by putting military engineers into 3M to help ramp up, government also need to control the distribution of mask to avoid hoarding and price gouging. Encouraging American to cut vest and stitch them to make at least 2 clothing masks for each family member, washing with detergent with enzyme (enzyme will break up the protein on the surface of virus) and using the heat of dryer to kill any remaining virus after each use. Most clothing masks are thicker and better than surgical mask if one can avoid toughing outside of contaminated mask, and good fit along the two sides of nose by embedding a clip inside. Home-made is the only way to let everyone has a mask immediately. Cotton mask has about 80% filtration or 4 times reduction of infection.
MacroSQL Technology team are doing our part to help America to wake up. We are also shocked by Trump’s not participating the best partner manufacture for the COVID-19 DNA vaccine developed by Dr.Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University, Dr. Sarah Gilbert developed Adenovirus-based MERS vaccine with superior immune response than RNA vaccine that commonly used by US company. Her team stands the best chance of a fast vaccine. Trump team should quick get a partnership manufacture with Sarah Gilbert as their extensive vaccine experience far superior than that of Moderna and Inovio (these two don’t have much experience and their chance of success is small, because vaccine immune response is very complex process. Moderna has a super simple spike mRNA vaccine which I think has very short duration and low effectiveness, as spike alone has dramatically different response than spike on a corona-virus. Yet Moderna got $450 million second round money without even provide an animal test result(insane if you consider vaccine failure rate above 93% AFTER animal test). It is unbelievable why US tax payers’ money is pump into these superficial tiny US companies, with relatively naive mRNA drugs). Trump medical team is terrible, naive and incredibly incompetent and irresponsible. America need real respiratory disease expert and base its decision scientifically, rather than non-expert’s hunch and fantasy. Hoping every American stands up to the gigantic threat, to get correct message around Trump and one’s friends, to keep America from destruction and continue as a great nation.
CEO, MacroSQL Technology