Feb 252020

Venice carnival or Black Death? Mary Poppins?



Many of the things we see happening now with the coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, take your pick, I “predicted” a while ago. But I’m not in the predicting business, and anyone who would have said even just a week ago that Italy would have 11 deaths today and/or Iran would have 50, or the US 53+ cases of infection, would have been labeled a raving lunatic.

Wuhan apparently relaxed some of their lockdown measures yesterday (and walked that back hours later), as did other places in China when they hadn’t had any new cases for 24 hours or so, and we know why they do it -it’s the economy, stupid!- but that is really the worst possible thing to do. China’s even trying to telegraph that they are in control again, as per Zero Hedge:

“As the WHO team wrapped up its Monday press conference with what was essentially tantamount to a global confidence-building exercise in China’s response, a senior official from China’s National Health Commission said the coronavirus risk from Wuhan had gone ‘way down.’ Of course, if that’s true, then why did officials cancel a planned easing of the lockdown? The official added that China has “..managed to stop the ‘rapid rise’ of infections in Wuhan, though they haven’t stopped the epidemic yet..”

Of course it’s lovely that at the very moment China – falsely- claims to be regaining control, markets worldwide sink into a deep well and gold climbs the Kilimanjaro. Surprising it is not. It simply shows that “investors” are mostly completely clueless about the virus, and the media they follow mostly don’t know dick all either or prefer not to rock the cradle.

The so-called investors follow the same behavioral pattern that civil servants, politicians, “management” at companies, and journalists do. They check first and last what others are doing, so they won’t look out of tune and they can’t be accused of crying wolf. They tend to only act when the rest do, and by then it will inevitably be too late. Man as a social animal, covering their asses by hiding behind others.

For those so-called investors, who cares what they do or why? But for politicians and civil servants, this mindset means they will NOT be ordering test-kits, medicine and the like, when they should. And not warning the public about various upcoming threats and shortages.

For journalists it means their readers and viewers are only clued in when the wolf’s right on their doorstep. I’ve used the Chinese politburo as an example in The Party and the Virus (Feb 2), but I don’t think western countries are much, if any, faster or wiser or more aware. These are all jobs replete with born followers who have only ever learned how to hide behind mom’s skirts and aprons.

And for the rare few who don’t think in herd terms, they will be ridiculed by the sheep in that herd, who will again seek strength in numbers and behind aprons when they are found wanting. Which is fine for investors, they are only playing with money. The others, though, are playing with human lives.


A comment on my article last week, Go Forth and Multiply (Feb 20), suggested that I merely collected the most alarmist articles and turned them into an article. Nope.

The article deals with the failures of all the groups of people mentioned above, in various countries, which have led to where we are today. There are plenty other reports which are far more “alarmist”. I am not personally talking about worst-case scenarios, but in other instances I have quoted a few scientists who would fit that description. Take for instance Gabriel Leung at Hong Kong University, whom I’ve quoted more than once. Leung and his team contend:

• Most experts thought that each person infected would go on to transmit the virus to around 2.5 other people. That gave an “attack rate” of 60-80%.
• Even if the general fatality rate is as low as 1%, which Leung thinks is possible once milder cases are taken into account, the death toll would be massive.
• “Is 60 to 80% of the world’s population going to get infected? Maybe not. Maybe this will come in waves. Maybe the virus is going to attenuate its lethality because it certainly doesn’t help it if it kills everybody in its path, because it will get killed as well..”

There’s Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, who predicts that “within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected..” And Lancaster University epidemiologist/biostatistician Jonathan Read isn’t all that much cheerier.

Compared to those guys, I am not an alarmist, nor do I go out to look for articles in that vein. I did see quite a while ago that this virus had “potential”, though. And I did see The Big Lockdown (Feb 5) coming before it did. Actually, I see a lot more of that. My intent is to go back to Athens in April, but I seriously have no idea if that will be on offer 5-6 weeks from now, as Italy already today has 11 deaths, 322 cases, and over 100,000 people under lockdown, and deployed the military. Italy had nothing a week ago. And Italy is not that far from Greece.

Come to think of it, nor is it from Holland, where I am right now. That is a situation that people should have woken up to a long time ago. Holland has a number of its citizens locked up in a hotel on Tenerife, Canary Islands, a Spanish province off the northwest coast of Africa. There are 1000 guests in the hotel, all confined to their rooms, because one guest was an Italian who tested positive for COVID19.

There’s also a hotel in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria on lockdown. It has an Italian receptionist who is infected. Check the quarantine time for theose people. If it’s less than two weeks, you know nobody’s learned a thing.

This is the shape of things to come. As is Italy admitting a hospital actually spread the virus. And Japan saying it will now attempt to limit virus deaths, instead of preventing them. That may sound like mere semantics, but it’s not. It sounds like Japan giving up on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics without pronouncing it.

Also in Holland, yesterday a high end webshop, which sells electronics, including iPhones, etc., said they want to sell less!! and will raise prices because they foresee they can’t get sufficient supplies from China anymore soon. The obvious media reaction is they must be crazy, because competitors haven’t done the same. But that’s too easy. Maybe they just broke free of the mold of waiting for others to act.

What I find interesting in that light is that Holland’s dependence on the global China trade is much less than for other rich nations, and for south east Asia as a whole. Whither Amazon, Walmart, whither the Silk Road? Quo Vadis?



On February 6, the day after I published The Big Lockdown , a friend at the Global Change Research Institute, reacting to my question “Will [the Chinese] have an economy left by then?” (I don’t remember the exact time I referred to), said “Isn’t that TOO pessimistic?”

My reply was: “There’ll always be something left. There was an economy 100 years ago, and 500, and 1,000. It started when Eve made a deal with a snake. My point was more: what KIND of economy will there be? Nobody seriously considers a collapse such as this, and I think they should.”

He retorted: “I am not really convinced this will be a trigger of (chinese) economic collapse, but well, I am open-minded about such possibility… For now, I am corona-triggered-collapse-skeptic. ;-)”

I wonder how he feels about it today.

Me, I don’t think the biggest issue with the virus is the number of deaths and cases, at least not in the short term. The biggest issue is that there is a virus on the loose than has proven it CAN be lethal, and for which there is no vaccine.

The biggest issue is that we are stumbling woefully unprepared into the future, and therefore our only defense is to lock each other, and ourselves, up in our homes, (and our communities and cities if we’re lucky) until we can’t, social animals that we are.

The biggest issue will not be the cases or even deaths, it will be that ever more of the things we have come to rely on far away lands for, will slowly cease to arrive on our shores. Some of it will be trinkets we never needed, but some of it will also be things without which our lives and communities can no longer function the way we’re used to.

It will be a slow process. Or will it, nothing really moves slow with this virus; it appears to move in virus time, not human time.

You should probably get some immune system boosters while they are available, like Vit.D(3) and echinacea. Facial masks perhaps, while there are any. There are professionals who are regular commenters on the Automatic Earth and who can answer questions on that.

We should also likely prepare for a large-scale reduction in large-scale activities, events that require crowds. Olympics, sports games, concerts, arenas, but also supermarkets and department stores. And then after that come public transport and factories. Alarmist again? Just wait till the first case or death comes to a town near you. Observe how people react. You can see it today in Wuhan, Beijing, Milan, Qom.

By the way, how do you know there are no cases near you? Is anyone testing? Do they have test kits? They will test soon, and they will have kits if they can find any. Note: Japan said today their supply of test kits will be used only for the most serious cases. Everyone else is on their own.

New reports of infections are coming in today from Canada, Bahrain, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, Romania, Barcelona and more. Ask yourself: what are the odds this will stop tomorrow morning? Or that the US won’t get worse? Face masks, Vit. C, Vit.D(3), echinacea and other things won’t bankrupt most of you, and they’re good for you anyway, so maybe get them while you can.

Oh, and prepare for an enormous amount of misinformation emanating from the politicians and media who are always way behind the curve, and who right now are all actively pondering how to protect the economy. They can’t conceive of a world where a virus can trump the economy. Pun intended. Neither can those who call themselves “investors”. It’s the virus, stupid. HedgeEye got that one particulary well:



Me, I’m sitting here wondering what the link is between the masks for the -now cancelled- Venice carnival, and the Black Death. But that sounds at least a little alarmist, too, doesn’t it?

Please remind me to pick up a copy of Boccaccio’s Decameron(e), in which ten people tell ten stories each while in quarantine outside of Florence during the Plague, around 1350 AD. Should be popular soon.



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Home Forums It’s The Virus, Stupid

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #54382

    Venice carnival or Black Death? Mary Poppins?     Many of the things we see happening now with the coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, take y
    [See the full post at: It’s The Virus, Stupid]


    From what I’ve read, face masks are pretty ineffectual. More a placebo than a defence.

    V. Arnold

    The battle was lost the second the galoots politicised it…

    absolute galore

    I would go with toilet paper and rice over Vitamins, which just get pissed out.

    It will be a real balancing act between containing the virus as best as possible while still carrying on with life–which includes of course, work and the economy. Certainly non-essential gatherings like the Olympics and other sporting events, while important to economies, will likely start to be cancelled if the situation continues to progress. The organizer of Milan San Remo, a fabled spring classic bicycle race in Italy, is worried about the event.

    Meanwhile, on Linked In, you would think they were getting paid by the CPC, as one of their “stories” consists of a series of very positive, upbeat posts from people in trenches over in China–with one or two slightly negative posts to keep it “real.” Boosting morale is one thing, but this seemed excessive.

    It’s interesting that during the Spanish Influenza citizens were told to avoid gatherings, sleep with bedroom windows open, gargle with salt, and wear masks. One hundred years later, not much to add except wash your hands frequently–and yeah, the masks, de rigueur back then, are more for not spreading it if you have it, or for health workers, so they don’t spread it.
    Spanish Influenza palliative


    I never experienced anything like today. I went grocery shopping. Everything is completely normal, just another Tuesday in DC’s Suburbs. News radio mentioned the coronavirus, regurgitated corporate talking points, so I listened to music while driving around. After unpacking, I read this post and ordered more Vitamin D3 from Amazon. My Cognitive Dissidence is running wild.

    The closest parallel I’ve come up with is the eight month “Phony War”. It started in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and ended in 1940 when Erwin Rommel’s tanks skirted the Maginot Line and conquered France. I am waiting for the axe to fall.

    I was a Federal Biologist. The only thing that will stop the Wuhan coronavirus now that it is a global pandemic is local air-tight quarantines that allow the virus to burn out or an effective safe vaccine. The Western economy will collapse when the just in time logistic system runs out of Chinese and South Korean merchandise. A quarantine of the Greater DC Capital Area must include Baltimore since it is all suburbs in between. It will take thousands of troops to cut all the roads in a 70 mile circle around DC in Virginia and Maryland. If the US government does nothing after an outbreak, the healthcare system for millions of people will collapse. The ill will die untreated. The contagion will continue its expansion.

    Other than a miracle occurring, Donald Trump is in a worse situation than Jimmy Carter or Herbert Hoover. The November 2020 election is up in the air. Before the end of 2021, both globalism and the Western Empire will die. The survival of civilization is at stake.


    TonyPrep:. From what I have read, face masks need to be changed every 4 hours or so because moisture build up can turn the filter into an incubator.

    One commentor here said you need to use N100 type masks which I believe can filter out the tiny virus sized particles.

    These are the ones the US has few of stockpiled. Like Raul said nobody is prepared!

    I know Canada sure as hell isn’t prepared, as they have already publically given up! Canadians are to self quarantine themselves.

    V. Arnold

    Venice carnival or Black Death? Mary Poppins?

    The artwork today is properly, shall we say, hideous?


    Vietnam Vet:. Your reference to the Phoney War Period is very app. This was a period of time when the Allies failed to take advantage of the time, to prepare properly. Especially the French! For the French Army, what the French socialists did to weaken the avrmy’s regular and the reserve troops in the inter war years, simply could not be fixed during the Phoney War Period. The rest is history!

    I find the Finish experience in the Winter War a complete contrast to France! They literally had nothing but put up one hell of a stiff fight against Russia!

    The difference was the ordinary Finnish soldier’s unwavering faith and in their commander!

    Living in Canada, I have noticed that Federal Canadian health officials have already declared the battle lost!

    Clearly China is letting Wuhan/Hubei simply burn itself out as you mention. They are simply completely over whelmed, and are just leaving everyone to their own devices. The death toll must be absolutely staggering as in the tens of thousands assuming a 9% death rate.

    By electing to return to work the CCP is accepting that the coronavirus will run it’s course. Japan seems to have come to the same conclusion. Throw in Canada too!

    I see nothing here that contradicts your DC area shopping experience!


    Antivirals: garlic, structured silver (colloidal also but not as good), horseradish, oil of oregano, apple cider vinegar, olive leaf
    Use them altogether for synergistic effect.

    Immune system support: echinacea seed and root, liquid ionic zinc, astragalus root, cordyceps mushroom.
    Baseline Nutritionals sells combination herbal tinctures (one antimicrobial, the other for immune support) containing all these ingredients and more. I have no affiliation with the company but have used his products and found them to be extremely effective.



    Face masks are effective for at least three reasons. First, they are a reminder not to touch your face. Second, if you get infected, it can help prevent you from passing it to others. Third, even if the mask cannot block out all of the virus particles, it can still limit the dosage of how many you are inhaling. For viral diseases generally, how much you are exposed to impacts your likelihood of infection.

    They say to effectively wash you hands you should scrub for 30 seconds. Yeah, right. I’m just not going to do that, especially now that I am washing my hands every half hour or so. Do I give up and stop washing my hands because I lack the patience for 30 seconds each time? No way. It’s no more than 10 seconds for me. Might not be perfect, but I am trying to limit potential exposure rather than thoroughly disinfect myself every time.

    I think the same principle applies to face masks. If the mask only blocks half the droplets, fine, I’ll settle for half the dosage I would otherwise get.

    V. Arnold

    Antivirals: garlic, structured silver (colloidal also but not as good), horseradish, oil of oregano, apple cider vinegar, olive leaf
    Use them altogether for synergistic effect.

    Carol; where does royal jelly fit in this? Any benefit, IYO?
    Given our bodies are vitamin factories; the only supplemental vitamin I take is 2 – 4 grams Vita C daily…
    The rest is a good balanced diet…


    @V Arnold You are in the tropics, probably get lots? of sun
    If you are not too dark skinned, a hour of midday sun gives ~10K iu D
    (if not heavily covered with clothing)
    For those in more northern climes, your reserves of D are running low
    Take at least 5K/day for a week, then 2K/day thereafter even when not sick
    More if you get sick, even if you pee some of it out, it’s CHEAP
    What’s your life worth?
    A useful anti-viral is black elderberry

    V. Arnold

    @V Arnold You are in the tropics, probably get lots? of sun
    If you are not too dark skinned, a hour of midday sun gives ~10K iu D
    (if not heavily covered with clothing)

    Unless I’m/we’re going out somewhere, I just wear shorts, no shirt, no shoes, no hat, zip.
    I’m a white northern european, by ancestry; so my 30+ minutes a day in the sun puttering in the garden does the trick.

    If I’m not mistaken; didn’t you say you were certain you had the virus? Are you on the mend…hopefully…


    That graph on dependency relationships to China did not have Australia on it. Weird coz we are ALL IN!
    I see a major reset on the horizon. Well maybe the horizon is a bit far. I see it in my lounge room. I actually see a big mess. Businesses the world over are just gonna be making phone calls like crazy – (invest in telecommunications!) Trying to order some version of stock from somewhere else. Perhaps this is the dawn of the Repair Cafe. Mend and make do mutha ‘ckers


    Hi V.Armold
    Royal Jelly from what I have read is not known for antipathogen activity but is known for brain-related support (dementia). Yes high doses of vitamin C are sometimes used but this vitamin is not on the short list. Also there is an important difference between synthetic vitamins and food source vitamins – food sources are much more bioavailable and expensive.
    Not sure what you mean when you say our bodies are vitamin factories and then you say you rely on a healthy diet? We absolutely need quality food in general – at the foundation of health and good immune system is nutrient dense uncontaminated food. The list of anti-pathogens and immune support herbs are in addition to a good diet, specifically to kill microbrews and build up the immune system.


    Sorry kill ‘microbes’ not ‘microbrews’!!!

    V. Arnold

    Not sure what you mean when you say our bodies are vitamin factories and then you say you rely on a healthy diet? We absolutely need quality food in general – at the foundation of health and good immune system is nutrient dense uncontaminated food.

    That was exactly my point. Only with quality foods can our bodies make/extract the vitamins/minerals for a healthy life.

    LOL; please leave the micro-brews alone; they’re critical for vitamin “A” in a very digestable form….;-)

    Thanks for your reply…


    I’m doing a repeat post because the following was not mentioned.
    Did this disappear or was it fake news?
    Mapping Coronavirus In The Middle East: 9 Countries Hit As Alarm Raised Over Vulnerable Refugee Camps
    Notice also that the United Arab Emirates now has at least 13 confirmed cases, in a worrisome sign in could hit the gulf region hard, given also it’s a major international transport hub straddling east Asia and the West.
    Official government numbers of infected in the region are as follows:

    Bahrain (17 cases)
    Egypt (1 case)
    Iran (61 cases)
    Iraq (5 cases)
    Israel (2 cases)
    Kuwait (3 cases)
    Lebanon (1 case)
    Oman (4 cases)
    UAE (13 cases)
    It’s The Virus, Stupid
    The virus is the oil that keeps the printing press working overtime.

    Eventually, if +70% of the population gets the virus, it will be impossible to live in a sterile bubble.
    Again, I’ll say you can only die once.
    The USA, says stay home if you got the flu. The medical infrastructures cannot help you.
    The flu is today’s modern casino. 70%, 20% need medical help more than cough syrup, 3% of those 20% will finally find a better to go.

    The military, young super fit soldiers are getting the flu.

    The printed money is not going far enough to reach me or the refugees in the refugee camps.

    Dr D Rich

    Probably counter propaganda pissing on this propaganda parade, but here goes.

    GENEVA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) — China has changed the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, Bruce Aylward, an epidemiologist who led an advance team from the World Health Organization (WHO), said here on Tuesday, noting a rapidly escalating outbreak in China has plateaued and come down faster than previously expected.

    It’s a unanimous assessment of the 25-member team which has conducted a nine-day field study trip to China’s Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hubei, stressed Aylward.

    Recalling details of the study trip in China, Aylward said he was impressed by China’s pragmatic, systemic and innovative approach to control the COVID-19 outbreak.

    China has taken “differentiated approach” for different situations of sporadic cases, clusters of cases, or community transmission, which makes a massive scale of epidemic control work without exhausting its response, said Aylward.

    Moreover, the WHO expert praised Chinese phenomenal collective action, stressing “it’s never easy to get the kind of passion, commitment, interest and individual sense of duty that help stop the virus.”

    “Every person you talked to (in China) has a sense that they’re mobilized like in a war against the virus and they are organized,” said Aylward, who was particularly impressed by thousands of health care workers volunteering to go into Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak…………………….


    “50 to 70 percent of patients are actually infected but cannot be detected by nucleic acid testing.”

    Therefore, since you cannot live in a sterile bubble ….. let it go, let it go.


    From aljazeera
    A growing sense of crisis on the Greek islands which house thousands of migrants is leading to rising tensions.

    by Katy Fallon
    6 hours ago
    The notorious Moria refugee camp on Lesbos is nearing a population of 20,000 in a space built for just 2,840. Islanders have expressed frustration at the ongoing crisis on Lesbos and a sense of being ignored and forgotten by Greek and European authorities.

    In a statement, Stelios Petsas, a government spokesperson, insisted that health concerns such as coronavirus necessitated the urgent creation of closed centres on islands such as Lesbos. In July 2019, the Greek government rescinded access to healthcare for asylum seekers and undocumented people living in Greece.

    What will the virus do?


    What do you think about the chatter that suggests that the new corona virus isn’t another bat to mammal to human affair, but rather a man-made illness? Wuhan Institute of Virology is just a short distance from the wet market that is taking the heat for the outbreak.
    This would explain the difference in transmissibility.
    Regardless of origin, the way to stop it must begin by grounding the world’s commercial airplane service. You would have thought that a bright 5th grade student could have figured that out by now.

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