A 12 Day battle with COVID-19 of my colleague – in mid 40s and fit.

My close colleague Professor Patrick Degenaar

https://www.ncl.ac.uk/engineering/staff/profile/patrickdegenaar.html

has just sent his report. With his permission I am pasting it here.

“I’ve now basically recovered from what I believe (it’s impossible to get a test) to have been a COVID19 infection.

Just so you know what you have to look forward to in the future, I kept a brief symptoms diary:

Day 1:   Very slight ache in joints

Day 2:   Asymptomatic

Day 3:   Tired, lethargic, dizzy, and out of breath

Day 4:   Reduced symptoms compared to day 3. Started to assume it was getting better.

Day 5:   Morning felt almost fine. Then afternoon: Very tired, very out of breath, heart palpitations, Mild temperature = 37.5C

Day 6:   Reduced symptoms compared to day 5, but still very tired and dizzy. New symptom: a chest pain – like a claw embedded in the chest.

Day 7:   Similar to day 6, but also developed an occasional dry cough

Day 8:   Much worse – extremely tired, very out of breath. Climbing the stairs felt like climbing Everest. Feeling like very bad high-altitude sickness. A feeling of nausea (just like bad high-altitude sickness)

Day 9:   Similar to day 8

Day 10: Starting to get better similar to day 5

Day 11: Starting to feel much better. Can ascend stairs without getting out of breath. But still tired and dizzy.

Day 12: almost OK, but still need periodic Siestas

Stay safe!”

Can Socialism be built a la carte in just a few weeks from Capitalism?

The current fight of the human race against the deadly coronavirus shows the obvious inability of a capitalist, free-market system to handle it.

Nations with more centralised economy and command-control mechanisms already in place are better equipped with tools to respond and act.

Many businesses in all industries close to our daily life are at standstill, and sadly may never recover from this plight or it might take a long time if things get back to normal. It is obvious that prolonging capitalism and its functionalities, and not rapidly changing the course to socialism would lead to great human losses and disasters. The nation will suffer at all levels of its structure enormously if the crisis extends for months.

What then to do? How to re-act?

It is worth looking at the history of societies and nations which underwent economic and political cataclysms and see what was done there and at what cost, and what perhaps could have been done differently.

Take Soviet Union after the October revolution for example. A switch to socialism was very painful, it was not done smartly and systematically but as a result of a bloody and brutal overthrow of the previous system, but there were certain moments when a clever action of the leadership helped to mitigate the tragedy. For example, switching to the so called “Military Communism” was essential during that plight. One thing should be clear is that the leaders should be smart enough and steer the nation quickly towards socialist realities.

Instead of trying to pay a significant salary replacement to workers who are now effectively unemployed (the bureaucracy of this process will not be sustainable in these speedy dire straights of the pandemic), we need to face the reality and give people the absolute basics. People should be given some comfort of hope in material sense – guaranteed food, shelter, moral and medical support. If someone rents a place to live and has no cash to pay the rent now, the government should, perhaps in a very crude and direct way, issue a decree that the owners shall NOT demand rent from people who lost their job. Small elements of “temporary expropriation” (I am not calling to the disownership of the property!) are needed. The fate of the nation is at stake. And the nation is its people.

Clearly, a government that was brought up on the principles of free economy, conservatism and capitalist values, would have enormous problems to simply turn the switch from capitalism to socialism. But what can we do? We have to live with the government that was elected by the people. And it happens to be conservative. So be it. Thus, we can only hope in some remains of common sense in this government and we can only try to impact on their policies to be more decisive. They should realise that the country urgently needs to switch to some forms of socialism and more direct rule.

The answer to why women are more robust to COVID-19 than men may lie in the dynamics of women’s gene pool

Today, people are asking why women are less affected by COVID-19 and have significantly lower death rate than men (in Italy, for example: more than 60% of infected are males and more than 70% of death cases are of male).

While there are hypotheses that this is caused by various societal and life style factors and norms, such as ‘because more men are smokers’ etc., I would like to examine potential genetic causes of that.

Men carry both X and Y chromosomes. Women carry only X chromosomes.

As I wrote a couple of years ago on my blog about the differences of dynamics between X and Y chromosomes (see links to my two articles below), I made a hypothesis that women’s chromosome pool is significantly more dynamic and mutable than men’s. The Y part of men’s genes don’t mutate. They carry Y-DNA through generations unchanged. Thus women naturally bring greater adaptability and robustness to environmental conditions than men. Contrary to that men bring certain long-term elements and inertiality, which is also important for stable societies.

Importantly, perhaps, I also showed an analogy between the combined process of gene evolution in humans and other species, thanks to the presence of both males and females) and PID (Proportional-Integral-Differential) control that is proven to be the most successful type of control in engineering systems.

So, the nature’s own PID control (where the role of P and D is greater than that of I for the purposes of quick response to effects such as viruses) makes sure that only a relatively smaller number of males compared to the number of females are needed to maintain the human kind.

So, as usual, Mother Nature and genetics are the winners in this almost game-theoretic scenario of our battle against coronavirus.

Potential rise of interest in STEM subjects in society

I predict that during and following this period of COVID pandemics, we will witness a significant rise in of interest and some kind of renaissance of mathematics and other STEM subjects. You might ask, why?

Well, let’s look back into history. The development of many mathematical ideas and forms such as mathematical series like geometric series, Fibonacci series, theory of probability etc. were the result of people observing various processes in time or frequency domains during those epidemics like plague, cholera and so on, that took place in the past centuries.

Now, you can see how many smart people are doing home schooling and teach their kids to look at the geometric series and exponential and power laws of the proliferation of virus. A 7-8 year ol kid can have a good grasp of the series based models because he or she could witness its manifestation (sadly, but) in vivo.

So, being an academic in Engineering and curious in anything natural, I hope there will be more students doing Maths, Sciences and Engineering after that ….