Chaos due to COVID 19 epidemic

Since the government has decided to close down schools, from elementary to high, all over in the country, for a month, there is much confusion going on at various places and people. It will be starting in a couple of days.

For example, the parents should care for their young children while schools are off. Now both of the parents are always working and won't be able to take a long holidays to care for them. The staff at the schools are also embarrassed with this decision. It is the end of schools' year now. There are a lot of events planned there in this season. It might be quite tough for the teachers to deal with them at closed schools. It seems the Prime Minister would do something grandstanding against his reputation that he has not done anything meaningful for this epidemic by himself. Even though the Ministry of Education frowned on the PM's decision early in the morning yesterday, the official residence of the PM bulled it through and announced the decision without approval by the Ministry of Education or of the other offices related with this policy, or exactly, an impromptu idea.

There seem to be no much consideration on the effects and side effects of this policy by the PM or his office. The government has tried to hide the reality of epidemic without testing for the pathogen with RT PCR tests, which have been highly needed by the workers of medical facilities. The government has seemingly limited the number of the tests all over. It seemed to have intended to falsely show the number of the cases lower than real without letting RT PCR tests done as needed. Without knowledge of the size and localization of the epidemic, it must be difficult for anyone to evaluate how effective such a policy would be when the course of this epidemic will be investigated in the future.

The government says they will let the private laboratories to do the test and the capacity of the test will be increased much. It is not yet determined who would care for the suspicious cases and execute the test for them. The primary care facilities are not ready to do that. Economic and man power support will be necessary if they ask the primary care facilities to do that. If the primary care personnel is infected with this virus, they could not carry on their medical service. It means the medical service will be collapsed then.


Hiding the reality is not solving the problem

Bob W6CYX let me know of development of anti SARS-COV 2 vaccine in the US. Surprisingly quick!


Regarding the situation of this COVID-19 in our country;

We are at the last minute which determines if we could control the outbreak or not. There are a lot of cases which could not be traced as for the infection route. But our government is quite unwilling to provide even the RT PCR test for the diagnosis to the clinical facilities. Only 3000 plus cases a day could be tested at present even though they estimate almost 100,000 cases possible if the private sector of this laboratory medicine is allowed to be involved in it.

It seems the government wanted the world to deem our country as a less infected area. It was to hold the Olympic games in the summer and to do for China which told our government to minimize the apparent outlook of the outbreak. Their logic is no test, no patient. What a ridicule!

If the outbreak occurs nation wide, which is quite possible, the number of the patients will reach almost 30% of the population at maximum. If it is estimated lower, for example, at 10%, there could be 2 million "severe" cases. Of course, it won't happen at the same time, it could be a devastating burden to the medical system in Japan. The total number of the beds, including beds for the recovery or chronic phase patients, is only 1.25 million. As it is occurring in China, the medical staff could be infected with this virus, which results in reduction of man power in the medical system.

Hiding the reality of outbreak, what is our government is going to do? It won't be of use to solve the problem but is sure to aggravate the situation. It may trigger panic among the people.

Let's hope the vaccine above mentioned or clinical trial of various meds will turn to be successful in the very near future.


Hamburg steak with broccoli and carrot glace

One of my favorite stunt, hamburg steak. Boiled broccoli, home grown, and carrot glace were featured.

It might be a common sense but I found adding small amount of soy sauce and brown sauce together with trace of salt would make it taste rich. 

It is always good t harvest such as broccoli in the garden farm, which has survived this severe winter.

I should get ready to plant new vegetables very soon.


Early spring

It's getting warmer now. They say it's record high temperature in this season. At my age, this early arrival of spring is welcomed. Waking up in the morning, I feel I could behave freely without that freezing atmosphere. But I am still afraid this could be a sign of global warming. We should keep eyes wide open for that climate change which could be a real burden to the next generation.

I am less active on the air. There are too few who enjoy real ragchewing any longer. It is not so rare that I bitterly switch off the radio after calling CQ in vain for some time. There are only few who understand what joy it is to communicate on CW. The pleasure of CW communication is hardly delivered to the next generation. It is regarded as replaceable with digital mode. These two modes are essentially different and not comparable each other. We should have witnessed of the pleasure of CW communication. Now it is almost impossible to do that. It must be how the history of CW communication is going on. No complaints. I am rather grateful to have spent the best days of that communication method from '60s to now. 

Japanese apricots are fully out at present.

Daffodils and later magnolia may follow them. It won't be too long before the spring is fully blown here.

Looking forward that arrival, I would prepare for gardening and farming in the garden.

The trend of populism in politics

I know it's of no use to submit something political in such a blog as this one mostly doing with hobbies. But the present situation in politics, mainly of the Prime Minister Abe's behavior, is too terrible.

He controls all the three powers of the nation by himself even though he is only the head of the administration as well known. It has been done through abuse of his power over personnel affairs. To establish rule by his own power, he is going to assign a person who obeys anything for him to the position of the attorney general. In Abe's administration, a lot of politicians, mainly of the ruling party, have committed political crimes like giving illegal treatments to the electorates or receiving bribery from various companies etc. Most of them have not been accused since the prosecutor's office is on the side of the administration. When the great yes-man to the Prime Minister takes the position of the attorney general, P.M.'s ruling would be completed.

In the other countries, we could see the same kind of politicians as our P.M. are ruling their countries. They are invariably products of political populism. Their policy is closely related with ultra right extremism with hatred toward minorities or misogyny. They bring discrimination in the society, either domestic or international. They seem to energize themselves with such negative enthusiasm of supporters.

How could such a politician get power in politics? Why would the voters support such a politician? It should be investigated from various aspects of society and/or politics. It seems like a trend in the history and may take sometime to understand what is going on right now. At least, what I could say on this issue at present is that negative or destructive energy comes from deteriorated emotion and intellectuality of people. Such populists are only reflecting such change in the society even if not mentioning of the ill effects of the mass media and the internet on stereotypical idea formation of populism.

I am much concerned about this problem. It may be involved with the life of the next generation.


COVID-19 epidemic seems to start here

Here are a few patients of COVID-19 infection who have been infected without any prior contacts with the patients in Japan now. One of them is a medical doctor in Wakayama Prefecture. The tertiary infection has been started.

As for this epidemic or even pandemic, I am not very pessimistic for the outcome right now. Even more virulent SARS than this virus infection could be stabilized in several months. Hopefully, it could be controlled very soon.

But the government won't take this impending crisis very seriously. Their strategy in urgency for this pandemic is stressed on, at first, pretending to have smaller number of patients in our country and then alleviation of the impact on the economy. It is not the time for them to do with economy yet. I believe the impact firstly would be loaded on the local medical care system.

The local medical facilities are not equipped with the proper diagnostic tests nor proper staff. The government has determined to force the patients to be hospitalized at the peculiar facilities assigned for infectious diseases. Surprisingly, the number of beds for infectious diseases is only 113 nationwide. It is as plain as daylight that those beds will be full when the pandemic goes on. To treat respiratory failure due to pneumonia, they should be equipped with respirators or NPPV, which is less plausible.

The diagnostic test kit will be, as the news says, available by the end of March. It is still RT PCR method, which turns out to be only 40% of sensitivity at present while pretty accurate in specificity. This means the current estimates for the infectivity is lower and the fatality or severe case rate is higher. Together with the long incubation period, this means the prevalence is subtly going on in the society. The presence of tertiary infection cases could not be explained without this subtle prevalence. The border quarantine is impossible at present. The diagnostic kit with improved sensitivity should be provided at the local medical facilities as soon as possible.

The local medical system could be collapsed if most of the personnel is infected or even goes on ominous course of the disease. It means the other patients than this COVID-19 infection cases would suffer much from the process. The local medical system is fragile to such a crisis. The government should support it by finance or the other ways.

In some time, this virus should prevail all around. We should stay home if we have only common cold like symptoms. It would lessen the burden on the local medical system.

Our government is very eager to get more armaments from overseas or to attract investment for casino. But unwilling are they to provide proper measures against such pandemic going on now or the natural disasters we had in the recent years.


Schoenberg String Quartet Nr 2

The modern classical music is the genre I have respected but still kept away. Recently, I listened to the 2nd string quartet by Schoenberg and felt I understood why he had had to go into atonality from his earlier work of late romanticism in the expression of extravagant emotion.

It is composed of classical four movements, the first two in tonality while the last two in atonality. It is also a remarkable and unique point that, in the last two movements, he has employed soprano solo to sing the poem by Stefan George.

He has stepped into atonal dodecaphony with this string quartet. It is a real epoch making piece in the history of modern music. This technique of composition has exerted much influence on the composers in 20th century and there after.

It is he has married to a sister of Zemlinsky named Matilda. Zemlinsky was a composition teacher whom he had lesson on counterpoint for several months. It is amazing it was the only professional training for composition he had had in his life. What a genius!

Matilda has had an affair with a young painter and left for him for a while. Nothing is easy to imagine what shock Schoenberg has had at this event. In the beginning of this quartet we could hear a motif of his moaning with sorrow possibly reflecting his experience with Matilda. This motif is repeated a few times until it lastly appear in the beginning of the 3rd movement titled Litanei. The poem soprano sings in that movement is to ardently ask for personal relief from sadness in life. Emotion of grief in his mind might require a new music genre which should overcome the limit of late romanticism. That is what I felt and interpreted this work. Following his life in this way, I guess it is possible for us to understand the reason why Schoenberg has stepped into this new genre of expression.

Either this explanation is right or not, this piece is a really historical work by a genius. I must confess it is not easy for me to be indulged myself in this genre of atonality. This piece makes me, however, feel closer to it.

This performance by Juliard String Quartet is almost aggressive. A great performance in fact. Some people wonder why they have not re-recorded this piece after this one. I bet they thought they had done the best in this performance and had no room to record it again.  


On novel Corona Virus epidemic

So far as I have understood on the novel Corona Virus (nCoV) infection epidemic, it seems to be characterized as below;

1)There are sizable number of asymptomatic carriers and mild cases not differentiated from simple common cold.

2)It could be contagious during the incubation period.

3)Different from the epidemic in China, there seems less worsening rate in the other countries. Hopefully, this might be due to natural selection of the more virulent strain and/or spontaneous mutation in the process of epidemic.

These characteristics are different from SARS which caused epidemic in 2003. There were more than 800 fatal cases. The medical staff was the target of this highly virulent virus. I still remember I should do with it at own small private practice without any equipment necessary to prevent infection those days. It was a real frustration. So far, the clinical features of this nCoV seem different from SARS or even MERS.

We might be able to infer that the border strategy at quarantine is not of much use to prevent epidemic. Actually, the passengers of a big cruiser where some of them  turned to be infected have been confined to the ship for days. I believe the closed narrow space of the ship is apt to cause further prevalence of the pathogen even if they are separated there.

I believe the authority should provide simple diagnosing kit for this pathogen, in stead of RT PCR used for diagnostic test, not suitable for mass screening, at present. And there should be certain number of facilities in each area/district which could hospitalize and treat severe cases.

Most of all, we should never be panic with this issue.

I was surprised to know the budget for the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan has been reduced to 2/3, that is, only 40 billion JPY per a year, for the past 10 years. I am afraid the health issue of the people is only of secondary importance in our country. They pay 4 times of this budget for a stealth air fighter imported from the US.

PS:This evening, BBC has reported that a Chinese researcher indicated a possibility of airborne infection with nCoV. If it is right, together with infectivity during incubation period, ordinary quarantine methods turn meaningless. Observing the wide spread infection among the passengers on the cruiser, this should be quite possible, I am afraid.


Stone warehouse

Stone warehouse used to be a symbol for wealthy farmer here. It is told to have been built after the war between the faction to overthrow Shogunate and the Shogun in the end of Edo era back in the 19th century. Wealthy farmers or merchants wanted to avoid things not burnt from fire. 

Yesterday, again on the way of walk, I have found a couple of such warehouse made with Ohyaishi, the stone produced in Ohya area in this prefecture. 

This is one of them at a house of a friend of mine. Some Ohya stones were crumbled down on the ground. Possibly due to the big earthquake in 2011. I have visited him and his family once in a while since my parents and aunt had been good friends to the grandparents of the family years ago. A wonderful family who have lived in the belief of Christianity. I have never noticed of this warehouse in the past. We could find something new when walking around.

They have lived on with dairy since their grandparents generation. However, the price of milk getting so cheap, the young couple has given it up some years ago. Most japanese farmers own much smaller business than those in the western countries and are confronting much difficulty to compete with products imported from those countries. Our government has "sold" our farming business including dairy to the US and to the TPP participants. I am sure these farmers should give it up sooner or later. The food self-sufficiency rate in caloric base is only 37% in Japan. It seems our government won't care for the food security at all. When a world wide famine occurs, we will be short of food for sure.  

Another stone warehouse at a neighbor of my friend's home. Pretty well managed one. 

In cold and crisp air, it was fun to walk around for an hour. The Nikko Mountains were seen in the northwestern direction. Some mountains are covered with snow.

In the riverbed golf course, some people were playing golf. The lawn was not lively yet. There was a big tree in the course.

Fast walking for an hour has exhausted me a little bit. It was good for me to sweat a bit outdoor, though.