Mar 232020

Harris&Ewing House-Capitol tunnel (may get moving walk), Washington, DC 1939


How Long to 1 Million US Cases? (Mish)
Nobel Laureate Predicts A Quicker Coronavirus Recovery (LAT)
Canadian Doctor Rigs Ventilator to Treat 9 Patients Instead of One (IE)
Coronavirus May Have Existed In Italy Since November: Local Researcher (CGTN)
The Epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Humanitarian Crises in Italy (NEJM)
The Government Budget Deficit Is About To Explode (CNBC)
Senate Democrats Block Mammoth Coronavirus Stimulus Package (Hill)
Blame Game Heats Up As Senate Motion Fails (Hill)
Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43 (Time)
Coronavirus Reveals Financial Irresponsibility Of Americans (Hill)
Preventing COVID-19 From Infecting the Commercial Mortgage Market (Barrack)
Singapore Airlines Slashes 96% Of Capacity, Grounds Most Planes (CNA)
China’s Housing Bubble Bursts (ZH)
New Zealand To Go Into Month-Long Lockdown (G.)



Cases 345,292 (+ 33,496 from yesterday’s 311,796)

Deaths 14,925 (+ 1,854 from yesterday’s 13,071)



Haven’t shown these two graphs from Worldometer in a while. Obvious enough?!




From Worldometer yesterday evening (before their day’s close)

One look at the US suffices:



From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 13% !! –



From SCMP: (SCMP appears to have given up on timely updating)









Reported US coronavirus cases via @CNN:

3/1: 89
3/2: 105
3/3: 125
3/4: 159
3/5: 227
3/6: 331
3/7: 444
3/8: 564
3/9: 728
3/10: 1,000
3/11: 1,267
3/12: 1,645
3/13: 2,204
3/14: 2,826
3/15: 3,505
3/16: 4,466
3/17: 6,135
3/18: 8,760
3/19: 13,229
3/20: 18,763
3/21: 25,740
Now: 35,070

Note: unlike many other nations, US numbers are updated several times a day.
Note 2: about half of US cases are in New York State. It it were a country, it would be in 7th place in the world.



The US would have to pass China in total infections by Thursday, 35,000 vs 81,000 now. Almost tripling in 3 days. I don’t know, and I’m not the biggest optimist around here.

How Long to 1 Million US Cases? (Mish)

Inquiring minds are investigating a relatively new data feed from the Covid Tracking Project. I plot four data series for the US: Negative tests, positive tests, hospitalized, and deaths. Arguably, hospitalizations are the most significant column but the project only has two days worth of data. Once I have another dfats point or two, I will plot a trendline manually.

Trendlines At the current pace, the number of positive coronavirus cases would hit 100,000 on March 26, and 1,000,000 on April 3. At the current pace, the number of coronavirus deaths would hit 1,000 on March 26, and 10,000 on April 5. Those are not my projections, those are observations of what would happen if the current trends last that long at the same pace.

Read more …

Your good news of the day. Based on new deaths levelling off.

Nobel Laureate Predicts A Quicker Coronavirus Recovery (LAT)

Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted. Now he foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world. While many epidemiologists are warning of months, or even years, of massive social disruption and millions of deaths, Levitt says the data simply don’t support such a dire scenario — especially in areas where reasonable social distancing measures are in place. “What we need is to control the panic,” he said. In the grand scheme, “we’re going to be fine.”

Here’s what Levitt noticed in China: On Jan. 31, the country had 46 new deaths due to the novel coronavirus, compared with 42 new deaths the day before. Although the number of daily deaths had increased, the rate of that increase had begun to ease off. Essentially, although the car was still speeding up, it was not accelerating as rapidly as before. “This suggests that the rate of increase in number of the deaths will slow down even more over the next week,” Levitt wrote in a report he sent to friends Feb. 1 that was widely shared on Chinese social media. And soon, he predicted, the number of deaths would be decreasing every day.

Three weeks later, Levitt told the China Daily News that the virus’ rate of growth had peaked. He predicted that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China would end up around 80,000, with about 3,250 deaths. This forecast turned out to be remarkably accurate: As of March 16, China had counted a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths — in a nation of nearly 1.4 billion people where roughly 10 million die every year. The number of newly diagnosed patients has dropped to around 25 a day, with no cases of community spread reported since Wednesday. Now Levitt, who received the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing complex models of chemical systems, is seeing similar turning points in other nations, even ones that did not instill the draconian isolation measures that China did.

He analyzed 78 countries with more than 50 reported cases of COVID-19 every day and sees “signs of recovery.” He’s not looking at cumulative cases, but the number of new cases every day — and the percentage growth in that number from one day to the next. [..] Based on the experience of the Diamond Princess, he estimates that being exposed to the new coronavirus doubles a person’s risk of dying in the next two months. However, most people have an extremely low risk of death in a two-month period, and that risk remains extremely low even when doubled.

Read more …

More good news. He can do it in 10 minutes.

Canadian Doctor Rigs Ventilator to Treat 9 Patients Instead of One (IE)

As hospitals scramble to secure more ventilators, some doctors are getting creative in order to help their patients. Such is the case with Canadian doctor Dr. Alain Gauthier, an anesthetist at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital in Ontario. Gauthier, who has a Ph.D. in respiratory mechanics, turned one hospital ventilator into a machine that can serve nine clients using do-it-yourself mechanics. The process was so brilliant that some have even called him an “evil genius.” Gauthier was inspired by YouTube videos created by two Detroit doctors in 2006, according to CBC News. He said he created a complex ventilator to offer people the best chance at survival. “At one point we may not have other options,” Gauthier told CBC News. “The option could be well, we let people die or we give that a chance.”

Read more …

I would lend much more credence to this if it didn’t come from the state-run China Global Television Network. It feels like they want to plant the narrative out there that it didn’t start in China at all.

Coronavirus May Have Existed In Italy Since November: Local Researcher (CGTN)

As COVID-19 spreads across the world, many are interested in the origin of the virus behind this deadly disease. Fingers have been pointed at China, the U.S. and other places. Recently, a pharmacological researcher provided another possible lead to National Public Radio (NPR), a U.S. media outlet. Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Italy, said he heard from general practitioners in the country’s Lombardy region that “they remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November.” “This means that the virus was circulating, at least in [the northern region of Lombardy and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China,” he told NPR.

Though Dr. Remuzzi originally used these words to answer a different question – why Italy acted later than expected on COVID-19 – NPR singled out this particular information in a tweet because it may relate to the origin of the novel coronavirus. China’s CCTV did the same thing by putting it on the headline of their report, though Dr. Remuzzi’s latest research mainly concerns how dire the situation is for Italy rather than the origin of the disease. What’s more interesting is that the English-language comments under the NPR tweet seem to completely differ from the Chinese-language ones under the CCTV Weibo. Many English comments suspect that China hid the situation from the world for a long time and that’s why similar symptoms showed up in Italy before the outbreak.

“China lied, people died” was most liked comment under NPR’s tweet. “So the Chinese government covered it up for even longer than we thought,” another comment said. A lot of Chinese comments, on the other hand, concluded that the virus originated in the U.S., so both China and Italy are victims. “Go to Trump for answers,” said a Weibo comment with more than 2,500 likes. “COVID-19 is a U.S. virus,” said another comment.

Read more …

When hospitals become super-spreaders. All it takes is enough sick people.

“Lombardy’s health care workers have been badly hit w/ infections–the differences with other regions are staggering. A recent paper by local docs argues that hospitals might be a key source of transmission there.”

The Epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Humanitarian Crises in Italy (NEJM)

In a pandemic, patient-centered care is inadequate and must be replaced by community-centered care. Solutions for Covid-19 are required for the entire population, not only for hospitals. The catastrophe unfolding in wealthy Lombardy could happen anywhere. Clinicians at a hospital at the epicenter call for a long-term plan for the next pandemic. We work at the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, a brand-new state-of-the-art facility with 48 intensive-care beds. Despite being a relatively small city, this is the epicenter of the Italian epidemic, listing 4,305 cases at this moment — more than Milan or anywhere else in the country. Lombardy is one of the richest and most densely populated regions in Europe and is now the most severely affected one. The WHO reported 74,346 laboratory-confirmed cases in Europe on March 18 — 35,713 of them in Italy.

Our own hospital is highly contaminated, and we are far beyond the tipping point: 300 beds out of 900 are occupied by Covid-19 patients. Fully 70% of ICU beds in our hospital are reserved for critically ill Covid-19 patients with a reasonable chance to survive. The situation here is dismal as we operate well below our normal standard of care. Wait times for an intensive care bed are hours long. Older patients are not being resuscitated and die alone without appropriate palliative care, while the family is notified over the phone, often by a well-intentioned, exhausted, and emotionally depleted physician with no prior contact. But the situation in the surrounding area is even worse. Most hospitals are overcrowded, nearing collapse while medications, mechanical ventilators, oxygen, and personal protective equipment are not available.

Patients lay on floor mattresses. The health care system struggles to deliver regular services — even pregnancy care and child delivery — while cemeteries are overwhelmed, which will create another public health problem. In hospitals, health care workers and ancillary staff are alone, trying to keep the system operational. Outside the hospitals, communities are neglected, vaccination programs are on standby, and the situation in prisons is becoming explosive with no social distancing. We have been in quarantine since March 10. Unfortunately, the outside world seems unaware that in Bergamo, this outbreak is out of control.

Western health care systems have been built around the concept of patient-centered care, but an epidemic requires a change of perspective toward a concept of community-centered care. What we are painfully learning is that we need experts in public health and epidemics, yet this has not been the focus of decision makers at the national, regional, and hospital levels. We lack expertise on epidemic conditions, guiding us to adopt special measures to reduce epidemiologically negative behaviors. For example, we are learning that hospitals might be the main Covid-19 carriers, as they are rapidly populated by infected patients, facilitating transmission to uninfected patients. Patients are transported by our regional system,1 which also contributes to spreading the disease as its ambulances and personnel rapidly become vectors. Health workers are asymptomatic carriers or sick without surveillance; some might die, including young people, which increases the stress of those on the front line.

Read more …

“It’s truly a bridge to the other side of an act of God…”

The Government Budget Deficit Is About To Explode (CNBC)

Remember when people were all worked up over trillion-dollar government budget deficits? Those might seem like the good old days, once Congress and the White House finish up the coronavirus rescue package expected to be approved in the next few days. Estimates of just how big the final bill would be vary, but it’s assured that it will be a historic moment for sheer fiscal force being exerted at a time of economic duress. Administration statements over the past few days point to something on the order of $2 trillion in economic juice. By contrast, then-President Barack Obama ushered an $831 billion package through during the financial crisis.

That type of fiscal burden comes as the government already has chalked up $624.5 billion in red ink through just the first five months of the fiscal year, which started in October. That spending pace extrapolated through the full fiscal year would lead to a $1.5 trillion deficit, and that’s aside from any of the spending to combat the coronavirus. Already, the national debt stands at more than $23.5 trillion and will be on track to eclipse $25 trillion. Taxpayers shelled out $574.6 billion in fiscal 2019 on interest payments for the debt and another $229.1 billion in fiscal 2020. In short, the shock from the COVID-19 spread will blow a fiscal hole through Washington, D.C., that could take years if not decades to patch.

Hand-wringing over what this will all do to the debt and deficit situation, however, will have to wait for another day. In times of crisis, there is little patience for fiscal austerity, only a sense of urgency that while government spending can’t stop the virus from spreading, it can mitigate what will be profound economic damage. “It’s truly a bridge to the other side of an act of God,” economist Paul McCulley told “We’ll deal down the road with the impacts on so many fronts of society with the whole thing. Right now, worrying about fiscal incontinence is the exact opposite of where we should be. We should have fiscal robustness implemented through effectively a joint venture between fiscal and monetary policy.”

Read more …

Romney to Senate Dems: “Keep this up a little longer and we will go from social distancing to social destruction.”

Senate Democrats Block Mammoth Coronavirus Stimulus Package (Hill)

Senate Democrats on Sunday blocked a coronavirus stimulus package from moving forward as talks on several key provisions remain stalled. Senators voted 47-47 on advancing a “shell” bill, a placeholder that the text of the stimulus legislation would have been swapped into, falling short of the three-fifths threshold needed to advance the proposal. Hopes of a quick stimulus deal quickly unraveled on Sunday as the four congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to break the impasse. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also delayed the procedural vote for three hours as they tried to get a deal. Democratic senators argue that the GOP bill includes several “non-starters” and walks back areas of agreement, such as expanding unemployment insurance, they thought they had reached with Republicans.

They emerged from a closed-door lunch fuming over the bill circulated by Republicans and called for McConnell to hold off on the 3 p.m. cloture vote. “We are pleading with McConnell not to call this vote,” Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said after the lunch. “It’s a serious mistake. We have not negotiated this to the point of agreement yet.” Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who is up for reelection in a deeply red state, said that the Senate needed to be “as unified as possible.” “We don’t need split votes,” he said. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) added that the proposal put forward by Republicans was “totally inadequate.” That resulted in McConnell delaying the vote to 6 p.m.

Read more …

I vote against all politicians.

Blame Game Heats Up As Senate Motion Fails (Hill)

The finger-pointing on Capitol Hill reached a fever pitch Sunday evening, as both sides rushed to blame the other after a Senate motion to move a mammoth coronavirus relief bill failed on the chamber floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quickly took to the floor to hammer Democratic leaders, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for what he characterized as petty obstruction that ignores the urgency of the crisis. “We were doing a good job of coming together until this morning, when the Speaker showed up — we don’t have a Speaker in the Senate, that’s in the House — and when the leader [Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)] and the speaker came in [they] blew everything up,” an agitated McConnell, his face flushed, said walking off the Senate floor.

Democrats quickly countered with accusations that it was McConnell who had abandoned the negotiations the night before, when the Senate leader announced that Republicans would begin drafting the massive stimulus package before Democrats had endorsed it. “There was a good spirit of negotiation into early last night. And right about 8 o’clock, our side sensed a sort of change in attitude, an unwillingness to give and negotiate, for reasons we don’t fully understand,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). The tense back-and-forth came moments after Democrats blocked a procedural motion to advance Congress’s third round of emergency relief — a package approaching $2 trillion — in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated markets, sparked mass layoffs and ravaged businesses large and small across the country.

Democrats have raised a long list of objections to the Republicans’ proposal, saying the bill does too little to protect the unemployed, feed the hungry, subsidize states and cushion students facing mounds of debt. They’re also up in arms over language to provide up to $500 billion in loans and guarantees for corporations, at the sole discretion of the administration.

Read more …

And she was lucky enough to get tested.

Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43 (Time)

When Danni Askini started feeling chest pain, shortness of breath and a migraine all at once on a Saturday in late February, she called the oncologist who had been treating her lymphoma. Her doctor thought she might be reacting poorly to a new medication, so she sent Askini to a Boston-area emergency room. There, doctors told her it was likely pneumonia and sent her home. Over the next several days, Askini saw her temperature spike and drop dangerously, and she developed a cough that gurgled because of all the liquid in her lungs. After two more trips to the ER that week, Askini was given a final test on the seventh day of her illness, and once doctors helped manage her flu and pneumonia symptoms, they again sent her home to recover. She waited another three days for a lab to process her test, and at last she had a diagnosis: COVID-19.

A few days later, Askini got the bills for her testing and treatment: $34,927.43. “I was pretty sticker-shocked,” she says. “I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.” Like 27 million other Americans, Askini was uninsured when she first entered the hospital. She and her husband had been planning to move to Washington, D.C. this month so she could take a new job, but she hadn’t started yet. Now that those plans are on hold, Askini applied for Medicaid and is hoping the program will retroactively cover her bills. If not, she’ll be on the hook. She’ll be in good company. Public health experts predict that tens of thousands and possibly millions of people across the United States will likely need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in the foreseeable future.

And Congress has yet to address the problem. On March 18, it passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers testing costs going forward, but it doesn’t do anything to address the cost of treatment. While most people infected with COVID-19 will not need to be hospitalized and can recover at home, according to the World Health Organization, those who do need to go to the ICU can likely expect big bills, regardless of what insurance they have. As the U.S. government works on another stimulus package, future relief is likely to help ease some economic problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but gaps remain.

Read more …

Of course there are Americans who borrow and spend too much. But how for the love of God is that a licence to even risk labeling people working 3 jobs and still not making ends meet, as irresponsible idiots who should save more? Who is irresponsible around here?

Coronavirus Reveals Financial Irresponsibility Of Americans (Hill)

How long could you sustain your household if you were to stop earning income? If you are like most Americans, the answer is not for long. Only 40 percent of Americans can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense with their savings. In fact, nearly 80 percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck. It is no surprise that the probability of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic caused many to worry. In major cities such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, restaurants and businesses have been ordered to close. For many hourly workers, this means no paychecks in the coming weeks. Almost one in five Americans have already lost their jobs or have reduced hours.

At the same time, salaried workers are concerned about job security, as mass layoffs at numerous companies loom. While the situation is understandably stressful for every person affected, it serves as a sobering reminder that Americans must learn to live within their means and regularly save money. The need for all Americans to be able to sustain themselves for at least a few months on savings is accentuated during a time of crisis. This means planning ahead when times are good. Financial planners suggest saving at least 20 percent of take home income, while spending at most 30 percent on discretionary items. Yet too many workers still fail to think twice about spending entire paychecks for things they want but do not need.

Recent decades have offered us relative luxury. More than 80 percent of Americans own smartphones. The same portion of households own one high definition flat screen television, while over half of households own more than one. Over 60 percent of Americans dine out at least once a week, while nearly 20 percent dine out three or more times a week. The current panic is refocusing us on what is important. We now stockpile the things necessary for our health. Smartphones, fancy televisions, and restaurant meals are usually luxuries rather than necessities. Living within our means is not just rhetoric. It is a means of guarding ourselves during times like these. We have so much to learn from those who came before us. How many of our grandparents fared the austerity of the World Wars and the Great Depression, discovering to save, mend, and repair?

Read more …

The richer suffer more, they’ll have you know. What pricks this dick’s balloon, though, is suggesting that prior to corona, there was a “normal chain of revenue generation etc.” and “solid economic fundamentals”. There haven’t been any normal markets, and that includes commercial mortgages, since Alan Greenspan. You may like to disagree, but just wait till the Fed folds.

Preventing COVID-19 From Infecting the Commercial Mortgage Market (Barrack)

As a major participant in the non-bank real estate lending industry, I am fully supportive of the nation’s extraordinary response to contain COVID-19. The profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public health and safety of all Americans is unprecedented and the response measures being taken by federal, state, and local government agencies are essential and critical. One aspect of this all-out assault on an invisible enemy — in the effort to suppress the contagion and manage the precious resources of our medical community and first responders — has been the unfortunate but necessary cessation of general commerce nationwide.

Now everyone, from corporations and small and mid-sized businesses to employees and laborers from all walks of life, has been displaced from the normal chain of revenue generation, cash flow, and income necessary to meet their obligations, from payment of salaries, rent payments, mortgage payments, and all other debts and bills required in the daily life of every business and every American. As a direct consequence of the necessary response measures to COVID-19, high performing mortgage loans across the entire commercial real estate sector (approximately $16 trillion in aggregate), which had previously been grounded in solid economic fundamentals, are suddenly experiencing a temporary meltdown in cash flows.

We are seeing the beginning of a second crisis that will occur in the financial markets that underpin the lifeblood of these employees, workers, and businesses. Based on my own personal past experiences I would like to share with you some thoughts on how to alleviate the potential blockage in the commercial mortgage market which is beginning to raise its perilous head. Addressing this major looming crisis in liquidity in a coordinated manner will be essential in averting a crisis in credit and a long term economic recession.

Read more …

This is just one of many such reports, of course. What I found interesting is that just 5 days ago, Singapore Airlines said it would cut flight capacity by 50%. And you wonder: what happened since Wednesday?

Emirates announced yesterday they would cut all flights, only to be told some flights are essential to services. Those are reinstated.

Singapore Airlines Slashes 96% Of Capacity, Grounds Most Planes (CNA)

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will cut 96 per cent of its capacity that had been scheduled up to the end of April, said the airline on Monday (Mar 23). The decision was made after the further tightening of border controls around the world over the last week to stem the COVID-19 outbreak, SIA said in a news release. About 138 SIA and SilkAir planes, out of a total fleet of 147, will be grounded as a result. Scoot, the company’s low-cost unit, will suspend “most of its network” and will ground all but two of its 49 planes. This comes amid the “greatest challenge that the SIA Group has faced in its existence”, the company said.

“It is unclear when the SIA Group can begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted,” it said. “The resultant collapse in the demand for air travel has led to a significant decline in SIA’s passenger revenues.” Over the last few days, the SIA Group has drawn on its lines of credits to meet its immediate cash flow requirements, it said, adding that it is in discussions with several financial institutions on its future funding requirements. “The company is actively taking steps to build up its liquidity, and to reduce capital expenditure and operating costs,” it added. SIA said it is in talks with aircraft manufacturers to defer upcoming deliveries, in the hopes of delaying payment for those deliveries.

Read more …

This is a bigger threat to Xi than the coronavirus. And why does it happen? Because China’s second-largest property developer wants to be the world’s biggest maker of electric cars…

China’s Housing Bubble Bursts (ZH)

Now that the world is firmly focusing on apocalyptic forecasts about the state of the US and global economy, with St Louis Fed president James Bullard the latest to pour gasoline into the fire with his worst-case prediction of a 50% GDP drop and 30% surge in unemployment in Q2, it is easy to forget that China, which started this whole pandemic, is still in economic lockdown. And while Beijing is pretending that the Shanghai Sniffles are now firmly behind it, and forcing people back to work while openly fabricating disease numbers – because like Lloyd Blankfein it has realized that an economic depression is an even worse outcome than millions infected – the reality is that China’s economy is facing an unprecedented crisis of its own.

Today we got a stark reminder of that, when Evergrande Group – China’s second-largest property developer by sales – tumbled in early trading Monday after saying it expects full-year earnings to fall by half. As Bloomberg first reported, the residential property developer said in an exchange filing Sunday that net profit for 2019 is expected to come in it around 33.5 billion yuan ($4.7 billion), a drop of about 50% from the previous year. “The decrease in profit is mainly attributable to the delivery and settlement of the lower-priced clearance stock properties in 2019, which drove down the unit price of the property delivered,” Evergrande said. That sent the firm’s Hong Kong-traded shares down as much as 17.4% on Monday, the biggest intraday drop since July 2015.

And with the stock tumbling by more than two-thirds since its late 2017 highs, Citigroup downgraded the stock to “sell” and slashed its price target by 56%, as the expected decline in core profit was far below Citigroup’s estimate of a 27% year-on-year drop. To be sure, there are plenty of reasons to dump the stock: Evergrande is one of China’s most-indebted developers with net debt of $88.5 billion as of June. As Bloomberg reminds us, the company has been pouring billions of dollars into acquisitions as its Chairman and major shareholder Hui Ka Yan pursues an ambition to make Evergrande the world’s biggest maker of electric cars in the next three to five years.

Read more …

Ardern sounds a bit too convinced. It’s still just one view.

New Zealand To Go Into Month-Long Lockdown (G.)

New Zealand is preparing to enter a month-long nationwide lockdown from Wednesday night, with the entire country ordered to stay home apart from those in essential services. On Monday the nation was given two days to prepare for schools, businesses and community services to turn off the lights in a desperate bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The move came after the number of cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand rose past 100. In an address to the nation, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said she was not willing to put the lives of her citizens in danger. “The worst-case scenario is simply intolerable, it would represent the greatest loss of New Zealanders’ lives in our history and I will not take that chance.”

Ardern announced the country would move to level three measures immediately, and then to four – the highest level – on Wednesday from 11.59pm. “I say to all New Zealanders: the government will do all it can to protect you. Now I’m asking you to do everything you can to protect all of us. Kiwis – go home.” The lockdown will last a month, and if the trend of cases slowed, could be partially eased in specific areas after that. Ardern said it was now established that community transmission was happening in New Zealand and that, if it took off, the number of cases would double every five days, with modelling advising the government that tens of thousands of New Zealanders could die.

[..] Ardern said if the country did not lock down it would face a death toll beyond anything ever experienced before, and she wanted to give health services “a fighting chance”. Thirty-six new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on Monday, bringing the nationwide total to 102, spread across the North and South islands. Ardern said she knew the measures would be anxiety-inducing for many New Zealanders and they needed to be “strong and kind” to each other during the unprecedented crisis. “Today, get your neighbour’s phone number, set up a community group chat, get your gear to work from home, cancel social gatherings of any size or shape, prepare to walk around the block while keeping a two-metre distance between you.

Read more …



Oddly appropriate:






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Home Forums Debt Rattle March 23 2020

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    Harris&Ewing House-Capitol tunnel (may get moving walk), Washington, DC 1939   • How Long to 1 Million US Cases? (Mish) • Nobel Laureate Pred
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle March 23 2020]


    AFter letting current events and minor challenges interfere, the book demands my attention again, so I will resume radio silence for awhile except if I come across exceptionally noteworthy data. The last we saw our anti-hero, he was seguing away from external reality into the fields of fiction, walking through a pixellated portal, closing it behind him like a door on which we read:

    Ken has taken up prayer. Being chronically awake at 3am can do that to a person.

    “O lord, how foolish we are. Yet beautiful in our way. And your world! This tiny orb, your little bauble, polished stone under the glass of a fragile atmosphere. It horrifies me yet entrances. We’re supposed to be something, right? Not just confused dolts running amok, right?”


    COVID-19 cost in USA
    How to push the curve down farther so that the health system doesn’t crash.
    MMT will not save the blue collar workers.
    MMT without cost control will kill the elites.
    Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43
    MARCH 19, 2020
    A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the average cost of COVID-19 treatment for someone with employer insurance—and without complications—would be about $9,763. Someone whose treatment has complications may see bills about double that: $20,292. (The researchers came up with those numbers by examining average costs of hospital admissions for people with pneumonia.)

    For Danni Askini’s first trip to the hospital in Boston on Feb. 29, for example, she was charged $1,804 for her emergency room visit and another $3,841.07 for “hospital services.”
    A Better Place to live than USA????
    Coronavirus Has Been Reported in the Gaza Strip and War-Torn Syria


    An outbreak could wreak havoc on the Palestinian territory, which is home to over 2 million people, many living in cramped cities and refugee camps.

    In Syria, where the civil war is grinding on through its 10th year, Health Minister Nizar Yazigi announced the first confirmed coronavirus case Sunday. The 20-year-old woman came to Syria from a country that has an outbreak of the virus, but Yazigi did not specify which country.
    • Coronavirus Reveals Financial Irresponsibility Of Americans (Hill)
    Only 40 percent of Americans can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense with their savings. In fact, nearly 80 percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck.
    Major changes are coming.
    • New Zealand To Go Into Month-Long Lockdown (G.)
    This is not China.
    I don’t believe that they can maintain a lockdow for a month.

    Dr D Rich

    Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted. Now he foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world. While many epidemiologists are warning of months, or even years, of massive social disruption and millions of deaths, Levitt says the data simply don’t support such a dire scenario

    Ha ha ha! I nominate Dr. D to be re-awarded Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt’s Nobel Prize.

    To paraphrase our friend and local sage Dr. D, “The numbers just don’t add up.”


    The behavior of financiers and corporate executives have proven they can’t be trusted.

    President Trump, with respect to the huge corporate tax breaks said, “We thought they would do the right thing (productively invest) and they didn’t (buybacks instead)”

    So, the rush to give them trillions seems, well, idiotic. So, of course, that’s what we’ll certainly do.

    And yes, China WILL use their leverage in this situation, it’s called “The Art Of The Deal”. People act surprised, but TAOTD is not a “win-win” approach.


    Point of no return 9:45 am 3/23/2020

    USA MMT Trillion $ moment

    Jubilee moment for the elite borrowers

    After 10 years of borrowing, lalaland is coming for the connected

    Bank lenders will be “tickled pink”

    Dr D Rich

    The world is certainly changing fast. I never thought I would see the day that IL76 Russian aerospace transport planes would land in Western Europe. Nine of them did precisely that in the last 24 hours, landing in a very grateful Italy with loads of medical supplies and personnel from Russia.

    This will not be forgotten: China, Russia and Cuba send much-needed aid to Europe and Africa

    John Day

    Radio Silence for Bosco:




    (With tongue firmly in cheek?) Governments at every level no longer need our pittance in taxes, they have the Fed to buy up all the Muni bonds they want to “auction”. Good on them!

    Wow, not even a teaspoon of medicine.



    Point of no return 9:45 am 3/23/2020

    @ boilingfrog

    Yes. Gov. need our taxes, and fees
    Not for the money but for the control of the rifaf

    John Day
    A respiratory Therapist describes managing novel coronavirus pneumonia:
    ​ ​“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. The ventilator should have been doing the work of breathing but he was still gasping for air, moving his mouth, moving his body, struggling. We had to restrain him. With all the coronavirus patients, we’ve had to restrain them. They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning.
    ​ ​“When someone has an infection, I’m used to seeing the normal colors you’d associate with it: greens and yellows. The coronavirus patients with ARDS have been having a lot of secretions that are actually pink because they’re filled with blood cells that are leaking into their airways. They are essentially drowning in their own blood and fluids because their lungs are so full. So we’re constantly having to suction out the secretions every time we go into their rooms.”–terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid19-even-in-his-young-patients

    ​Here is a fit 39 year old woman in an English hospital who can still speak, and thoughtfully encourages distancing precautions be taken seriously: “It’s like having glass in your lungs”. Thank You, Tara.
    Do social distancing. Wash hands with soap before you snack. Don’t touch public touch-things.
    Don’t let virus jump hosts.
    Take 5000 units vitamin D daily, unless you have not taken any before.
    Take 10,000 units per day until June if it is new to you. ​
    Eat fresh vegetables. Do things outside in open spaces.
    The best course is to avoid exposure until there are plenty of tests and treatment is easy to get early in the course, before you are bucking a ventilator in the ICU.
    Scroll down in the blog to see treatments, available and prospective.


    Listening to this as I wrote, I realized how poetically perfect a prophetic song this was and dropped in to share it:

    An Olde English Dream

    After all, America is really just a continuation of Rule Britannia under another name.


    I don’t think flattening the curve/social distancing that we seem to be doing everywhere is the best strategy. I have been thinking about it for a while, and I don’t think I hear anyone talking about any realistic strategy. I do have a simple and bold idea, which I would like to share below.

    First, let us say we keep doing social distancing for 2-3 months until things are under control. Then what? Don’t tell me that we will be able to entirely get rid of the virus then. At this point, most reasonable people already accepted that it just won’t happen. We also cannot go back to ‘normal’ because the minute we do that, the cases will go back up, and then we go back to all these social distancing controls for another 2-3 months. Basically, we will go through this cycle of getting in and out of social distancing every few months until we get the vaccine or herd immunity, either of which is going to take at least a year. You can argue that when we get out of the first social distancing, we can ‘carefully’ go back to our ‘slightly modified’ normal way of life such as no hand shaking and all sport events taking place inside closed doors (if you can call that normal). Does anyone really have any answer how much we need to modify our behavior such that the infected cases do not rise out of control and overwhelm our hospitals again? Also, all countries have to precisely synchronize their social distancing periods because if some countries are out of phase, then we will need to completely block the borders of those countries. Just see what China, HK, Singapore are doing now. I hope you all see what a challenge it is to keep all these things right. With the incompetence displayed so far by our leaders and the way this virus works, I wouldn’t bet on that we will be able to control the virus with the current social distancing strategy. Basically, the current social distancing strategy will surely disrupt our lives for extended periods of time.

    I have seen a few countries (UK, Nertherlands?) have thought about trying to get herd immunity quickly and get it over with. But when they realized it would quickly overwhelm their hospitals, they changed their path and followed the social distancing/city lockdowns (a bit too late and at the expense of numerous lives). Also, let us say some countries managed to achieve herd immunity. Then what? As long as there are still counties without herd immunity, those vulnerable countries will have to strictly control their borders (Again, just see what China, HK, Singapore are doing now), and for how long? The only things that our leaders could think of is printing money for businesses and people and wait out until there is a vaccine.

    Here is what I think we need to do. We have to mobilize/organize people and resources at the WWII scale. During the green new deal under FDR, the government hired people at a massive scale to clean up federal lands and so on. We need to do something bold like this, but at a global scale because all countries need to work together to get this virus under control. It is quite clear that millions of people who work in restaurants, travel/tourism industries and many others are now losing their jobs. We also know that the hospitals are massively short of people and resources. The governments should hire/recruit all these millions of people, train them to take care of coronavirus patients, build hospitals, make ventilators and other PPEs. It isn’t not going to be easy, and we need great leaders to organize things such a large scale. So far, I haven’t see any such leader. We have a lot of experts. Now, we need some leaders to organize all these experts and millions of newly unemployed people to solve this problem. So, here it is, my simple and bold idea. I definitely think it is better than printing and giving trillions of dollars to corporations and every single person.

    Doc Robinson

    With the coronavirus getting so much attention, I missed this news. Earlier this year, the US reversed its ban on landmines. (Meanwhile, 164 countries, including all other NATO members, adhere to the Mine Ban Treaty.)

    But don’t worry, the new ones are “smart” landmines.

    A January 31, 2020 memo by Defense Secretary Mark Esper reverses a 2014 ban on US production and acquisition of antipersonnel landmines, as well as their use outside of a future conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The policy decision nullifies years of steps by the US to align its policy and practice with the 1997 treaty banning antipersonnel landmines…

    The Mine Ban Treaty, which entered into force on March 1, 1999, comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel mines and requires their clearance, destruction of stockpiles, and assistance to mine victims. A total of 164 countries have joined the Mine Ban Treaty, including all other NATO members and the US allies Australia and Japan. The US participated in the 1996-1997 Ottawa Process to negotiate the treaty, but never adopted or signed it.

    Modern land mine designs include a deactivation mechanism, which is supposed to kick in after a period of time, between, say, 12 hours and 60 days. The minefields are also “smart,” in that they can “talk to each other and be command-activated, and link into other sensors so that they know when enemy formations are coming”…

    But reducing the threat does not mean eliminating it, notes a U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines statement released last week by 63 nongovernmental organizations that came together to condemn the policy. “If the self-destruct or self-deactivation mechanisms were to fail, they would remain lethal, and the potential exists for the components to be repurposed into improvised explosive devices…”


    Point of no return DELAYED AGAIN

    Larry K. is bull shitting again on TV
    “Its going to be weeks and months”


    “Northern plains of Italy, is a region stuck between two mountain chains, the Appennini and the Alps, blocking winds coming from the North. The result is that air stagnates and pollution accumulates, creating what’s probably the most polluted area in Western Europe. Considering that also Wuhan, the other center of the coronavirus epidemic, is located in a highly polluted area, central China, it makes sense to think that the infection does more damage to the already weakened lungs of people affected by pollution. Indeed, I had already noted how epidemics tend to strike mostly populations already weakened by other factors, typically famines and wars — pollution is just another factor that has the same effect. According to the data, it may also be that the virus is carried by flying microparticles and that makes the infection spread faster.”


    “Lost sense of smell may be peculiar clue to coronavirus infection”
    “A mother who was infected with the coronavirus couldn’t smell her baby’s full diaper. Cooks who can usually name every spice in a restaurant dish can’t smell curry or garlic, and food tastes bland. Others say they can’t pick up the sweet scent of shampoo or the foul odor of kitty litter.

    Anosmia, the loss of sense of smell, and ageusia, an accompanying diminished sense of taste, have emerged as peculiar telltale signs of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and possible markers of infection.”


    Whither grace in the curving world
    And gifts without encumbrance?
    What is the path to a mind at peace
    And love without remembrance?

    Russia:Italy. Things go ’round and ’round.


    Trillions of dollars into the Coronavirus economy, is hiding everything that were past their limits. In a year, or two, all this will be forgotten.
    What we see here, at TAE, is not visible to the ostrich.


    Covid – 19 Jubilee

    Historically, Jubilee forgives the debts of the poor every 7 years and every 49 (7×7) years, there is restoration of property to its rightful owners.

    Modern Jubilee, take advantage of the virus, forgives the debt of the elites and restore the property to the lenders.
    Reset to continue operations.

    Okay, readers, go ahead, correct my opinion.


    On March 22, a Texas state edict was distributed to all pharmacies mandating that no prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin would be honored without an accompanying covid19 diagnosis code verifying that the recipient had an active case of Wuhan virus.


    Seychelles: so what are the people with Lupus doing? A caller on C-span already had been told there wasn’t any for her; then there was but it would be really expensive; then they found her a two-month supply at a slightly elevated price.
    Maybe no one in Texas has Lupus.
    Edicts. Geez.


    John Day:

    Earlier today I saw an article where a doctor, Alain Gauthier, somehow managed to connect 9 patients to one ventilator machine since his hospital only had 1 or 2 machines.

    Thought you might be interested in this. I would put link but don’t know how, so here is address.


    I also saw where two patients were connected to one ventilator but the catch was they had to be about the same size and use the same amount of air.


    Bosco:. Glad to hear your wife will be working from home? or at least at home. A bit safer.

    My son and daughter are both at home.

    Daughter has been home from university for nearly 10 days now. Yesterday she had to go downtown Toronto to remove all her stuff from her student residence since it will close today. She said there are still too many stupid idiots wandering around in Toronto. Last night Trudope finally said enough is enough. Nobody will listen!

    My son has been home since last Thursday. He services GE wind turbines so is on call if one goes down.

    Today my brother in Detroit called to let me know Michigan is in lockdown now. He has been working from home from GM for about 10 days already. He gets to crash test cars for a living! It is the paperwork afterwards that is the real killer!

    Today both Quebec and Ontario are shutting down all unessential businesses just like Michigan. Before they were just asking. Now they are telling!

    Quebec is now even arresting quarantine violators! Just like their cousins in France needing a note to be about! Short Gaulic tempers!

    Interesting piece of history re-Quebec. The english word “bigot” comes courtesy of a certain selfish French governor called Mr. Bigot! He is responsible for the fall of Quebec City to the British. He wouldn’t give the French general the use of local militia, so the French general faced the British with only French troops! Both generals died!

    Naturally Mr. Bigot lived to go back to France rich! No justice back then either!


    my parents said know….good question. Chloroquine is also an anti-malarial drug. I had self-prescribed these medications after reading I think John Day’s comments about them on this site. I pay $1200 a year to keep my old license active so I can occasionally self-prescribe, like many of my retired colleagues. I phoned in the Rx…a double dose… to Walmart on Friday and was told they were ready to pick up on Saturday but waited until the end of the day Sunday to pick up thinking there might be a short line at that time. My copay on a Medicare Part D policy with Humana would have been 48.00 for the hydroxychloroquine and 4.00 for the azithromycin. I think that these medications will be centrally hoarded for use by “the people who count.” Much of what we take for granted will simply go “poof.”


    Seychelles:. Yes, keeping your license active, can come in very handy!

    When my Father was dying of leukemia, he was struggling with constant nasal infections.

    His older brother was a retired doctor, who kept his license too, so he could help out in his son’s practice, so he proscribed sulfa meds, so my Father could at least sleep at night.

    I don’t believe a practicing doctor would normally proscribed sulfa for such long term use (years).

    P.S. My cousin said the problem with his Father helping out, especially when on vacation, was his Father would spoil all his patients by taking extra time to chat up all the patients, which of course they loved! My uncle was a people person plus retired, not trying to make a living!

    Then when my cousin came back he had to get them back on the regular bang, bang, schedule! They would all say, but your Father never rushed!

    John Day

    Seychelles: I think Texas just requires that hydroxychloroqine and azithromycin Rxs have an appropriate diagnosis added to the Rx. “Bronchitis” works for azithromycin, for instance.

    Arttua: Thank you for the anosmia screening question. I will use it.

    WES: The problem is that no two people need the identicl settings on a vent, and my reading is that when coronavirus patients go bad, it’s fast and they suddenly need very high pressure settings on their ventilator.–terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid19-even-in-his-young-patients


    Zerosum, I reckon you are spot on re the reset to elites etc.


    Also, what is with the universal use of the term Social Distancing – it’s very Orwellian. It is technically and unambiguously Phisical Distancing I mean we are socialising here on our computers. Are they just mentally priming us for actually being distanced socially or has that already been happening for ages. Everyone always has in the back of their minds to not say anything tooo subversive or for instance refer to it as The Wuhan Virus. If we are going to be so accurate so as to jump from Wuhan virus, to Corona Virus to COVID-19 then come on a little consistency govt’s and media please


    @ oxymoron

    I’m glad that you are also noticing that the virus is hiding a jubilee for the connected elites.



    This is how I find out people don’t actually read Debt Rattles -not a good idea, if you ask me. The ventilator story is right up there, photo and all, and you say you can’t find a link. Okay, it’s funny too.


    Raul, I reckon WES probably does read it but right now we are in info overload – sources coming from everywhere. And some of us have a lot more time on their hands right now too.

    Dr. D

    2020 – 49 = 1971

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