Mar 272020



More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know (BF)
We Could Watch Entire Populations Vanish (IC)
Coronavirus Could Kill 81,000 In US, Subside In June – Washington U. (R.)
Hold The Line (M.)
China Promotes Bear Bile As Coronavirus Treatment (NatGeo)
Fed Balance Sheet Tops $5 Trillion For First Time (R.)
Broward Poll Workers Test Positive For COVID-19 (L10)
Moscow Laboratories Will Conduct 13,000 Tests For Coronavirus Every Day (Tass)
New Zealand Coronavirus Deaths During Lockdown Could Be Just 20 – Modelling (G.)
Coronavirus Job Losses Will Raise Mortgage Stress More Than GFC Did (
France, Czechs, & Other US Allies Exit Iraq Over COVID-19 Fears (ZH)
Spike in Unemployment Claims is Even More Horrid Than it Appears (WS)
What Should The EU Do Now: 3-Point Plan For Averting A Depression (Varoufakis)
Dylan Ratigan: “An Abomination Beyond Comprehension” – “Bernie Folded” (Dore)
Muder Most Foul (Bob Dylan)



A word about testing. There are stories everywhere of people dying without even having beenn tested, and of doctors not getting permission to test. Many countries have a central body that must give permission for a test, and they often don’t until it’s too late in the game (the life). To a larg extent, this is because politicians simply failed to procure test kits. But there’s another thing: political incentives for massive and accurate testing hardly exist at all (in the short term), while incentives for not testing are obvious: you look better.

The UK testing story could change that all, with its potential finger-prick 15 minute test, but only if that test is at least 95% accurate. I know they claim it is, but we’ll have to see. There are stories about Chinese tests that are 30% accurate, and it’s easy to see why that is useless. But I was talking to someone yesterday who said: there are now tests that are fast and 70% accurate! But isn’t that useless too. No, they can do a better test with those who test negative! Yes, but the 70% applies to the positives too… So 70% means you have to retest everyone. And we haven’t even mentioned asymptomatic cases yet…



Note: we may see the first time that 100,000 new cases come within 24 hours

Cases 542,385 (+ 55,683 from yesterday’s 486,702)

Deaths 24,368 (+ 2,347 from yesterday’s 22,021)




From Worldometer yesterday evening (before their day’s close) US: 17,000 cases in a day



From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 16% –



From SCMP:








Not in the US, everywhere.

More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know (BF)

Medical professionals around the US told BuzzFeed News that the official numbers of people who have died of COVID-19 are not consistent with the number of deaths they’re seeing on the front lines. In some cases, it’s a lag in reporting, caused by delays and possible breakdowns in logging positive tests and making them public. In other, more troubling, cases, medical experts told BuzzFeed News they think it’s because people are not being tested before or after they die. In the US, state and county authorities are responsible for collecting data on cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and deaths. The data is then reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In California, one ER doctor who works at multiple hospitals in a hard-hit county told BuzzFeed News, “those medical records aren’t being audited by anyone at the state and local level currently and some people aren’t even testing those people who are dead.” “We just don’t know. The numbers are grossly underreported. I know for a fact that we’ve had three deaths in one county where only one is listed on the website,” the doctor said. A spokesperson for the California Department of Health told BuzzFeed News in an email that “local health jurisdictions are required to report all positive COVID-19 cases to the state. In addition, when a death or impending death from COVID-19 occurs, health care facilities must immediately notify their local health jurisdiction and the state.”

[..] two of the hardest-hit areas in the nation — New York City and Los Angeles County — released guidance earlier this week encouraging doctors not to test patients unless they think the test will significantly change their course of treatment. That means that potentially more people in both places could be admitted to hospitals with severe respiratory symptoms and recover — or die — and not be registered as a coronavirus case.

Read more …

Africa. Pray.

We Could Watch Entire Populations Vanish (IC)

On March 18, Burkina Faso suffered the first confirmed Covid-19 fatality in all of sub-Saharan Africa. The victim was Rose-Marie Compaoré, the first vice president of the Sahelian nation’s parliament. Tiny, impoverished, and conflict-scarred, Burkina Faso is now West Africa’s worst-affected country, with 146 confirmed cases, including four government ministers. The U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso, Andrew Young, has also tested positive for the disease. Burkina Faso has seen more than its share of hardships: poverty, drought, hunger, coups. But the coronavirus poses a new kind of threat to a country wracked by a war that has displaced around 700,000 Burkinabe in the last year.

Many of those people now find themselves under great physical and emotional strain, lacking proper shelter, food, and the other necessities — all of which makes them more vulnerable to the pandemic. Experts fear that Covid-19 could decimate entire settlements of Burkina Faso’s displaced, and they are bracing for devastating outbreaks in conflict zones, refugee camps, and the poorest countries in the developing world. Globally, millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, or IDPs, living in cramped, squalid conditions find themselves at risk. “When the virus hits overcrowded settlements in places like Iran, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Greece, the consequences will be devastating,” warned Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council [..] He also spoke of “carnage when the virus reaches parts of Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela where hospitals have been demolished and health systems have collapsed.”

[..] I have no reason to believe Moumoumi Sawadogo had Covid-19 when I met him eight weeks ago in Burkina Faso. After living 89 years in an arid, impoverished land on the fringe of the Sahara Desert, surviving a massacre, walking for a week and enduring hunger and homelessness, it was clear that Sawadogo was a survivor. But Covid-19 posed a different kind of danger. “These populations are already very vulnerable to diseases that are otherwise easy to treat. But that’s not the case when they have no access to water or proper sanitation or health care,” Alexandra Lamarche, senior advocate for West and Central Africa at Refugees International, told The Intercept. “We could watch entire populations vanish.”

Read more …

Modelling is only as good as its initial assumptions. Which in this case come out of hot thin air.

Coronavirus Could Kill 81,000 In US, Subside In June – Washington U. (R.)

The coronavirus pandemic could kill more than 81,000 people in the United States in the next four months and may not subside until June, according to a data analysis done by University of Washington School of Medicine. The number of hospitalized patients is expected to peak nationally by the second week of April, though the peak may come later in some states. Some people could continue to die of the virus as late as July, although deaths should be below epidemic levels of 10 per day by June at the latest, according to the analysis. The analysis, using data from governments, hospitals and other sources, predicts that the number of U.S. deaths could vary widely, ranging from as low as around 38,000 to as high as around 162,000.

The variance is due in part to disparate rates of the spread of the virus in different regions, which experts are still struggling to explain, said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who led the study. The duration of the virus means there may be a need for social distancing measures for longer than initially expected, although the country may eventually be able relax restrictions if it can more effectively test and quarantine the sick, Murray said. The analysis also highlights the strain that will be placed on hospitals. At the epidemic’s peak, sick patients could exceed the number of available hospital beds by 64,000 and could require the use of around 20,000 ventilators. Ventilators are already running short in hard-hit places like New York City.

The virus is spreading more slowly in California, which could mean that peak cases there will come later in April and social distancing measures will need to be extended in the state for longer, Murray said. Louisiana and Georgia are predicted to see high rates of contagion and could see a particularly high burden on their local healthcare systems, he added.

Read more …

Let the caretakers talk. They need to, and we need to hear them.

Hold The Line (M.)

As an infectious disease epidemiologist (although a lowly one), at this point I feel morally obligated to provide some information on what we are seeing from a transmission dynamic perspective and how they apply to the social distancing measures. Like any good scientist I have noticed two things that are either not articulated or not present in the “literature” of social media. I have also relied on my much smarter infectious disease epidemiologist friends for peer review of this post; any edits are from peer review. Specifically, I want to make two aspects of these measures very clear and unambiguous. First, we are in the very infancy of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means even with these measures we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities in the coming weeks.

This may lead some people to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are. They may feel futile. They aren’t. You will feel discouraged. You should. This is normal in chaos. But this is normal epidemic trajectory. Stay calm. This enemy that we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse. This is not my opinion; this is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. I want to help the community brace for this impact. Stay strong and with solidarity knowing with absolute certainty that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people begin getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

Second, although social distancing measures have been (at least temporarily) well-received, there is an obvious-but-overlooked phenomenon when considering groups (i.e. families) in transmission dynamics. While social distancing decreases contact with members of society, it of course increases your contacts with group (i.e. family) members. This small and obvious fact has surprisingly profound implications on disease transmission dynamics. Study after study demonstrates that even if there is only a little bit of connection between groups (i.e. social dinners, playdates/playgrounds, etc.), the epidemic isn’t much different than if there was no measure in place. The same underlying fundamentals of disease transmission apply, and the result is that the community is left with all of the social and economic disruption but very little public health benefit. You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk.

Read more …

This is about wildlife, not economic pessimists. Just in case you were confused.

China Promotes Bear Bile As Coronavirus Treatment (NatGeo)

Less than a month after taking steps to permanently ban the trade and consumption of live wild animals for food, the Chinese government has recommended using Tan Re Qing, an injection containing bear bile, to treat severe and critical COVID-19 cases. It is one of a number of recommended coronavirus treatments—both traditional and Western—on a list published March 4 by China’s National Health Commission, the government body responsible for national health policy. This recommendation highlights what wildlife advocates say is a contradictory approach to wildlife: shutting down the live trade in animals for food on the one hand and promoting the trade in animal parts on the other. Secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, bile from various species of bears, including Asiatic black bears and brown bears, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since at least the eighth century.

It contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid, also known as ursodiol, which is clinically proven to help dissolve gallstones and treat liver disease. Ursodeoxycholic acid has been available as a synthetic drug worldwide for decades. [..] Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners typically use Tan Re Qing to treat bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. Clifford Steer, a professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, has studied the medical benefits of ursodeoxycholic acid. He knows of no evidence that bear bile is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus. But, he says, ursodeoxycholic acid is distinct from other bile acids in its ability to keep cells alive and may alleviate symptoms of COVID-19 because of its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to calm the immune response.

Although use of bear bile from captive animals is legal in China, bile from wild bears is banned, as is the import of bear bile from other countries. According to Aron White, wildlife campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)—a nonprofit based in London, England, that exposes wildlife crimes—his organization learned first about the Chinese government’s recommendations to treat COVID-19 via social media posts from illegal traders. “We were witnessing how this government recommendation was being coopted by the traffickers to advertise their illegal products as a treatment,” White says. Illegal bile from wild bears is produced in China, he says, and is also imported from wild and captive bears in Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea.

Read more …

If numbers get big enough, they lose meaning.

Fed Balance Sheet Tops $5 Trillion For First Time (R.)

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet soared past $5 trillion in assets for the first time this week as it scooped up bonds and extended loans to banks, mutual funds and other central banks in its unprecedented effort to backstop the economy in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. The Fed’s total balance sheet size exploded by more than half a trillion dollars in a single week, roughly twice the pace of the next-largest weekly expansion in the financial crisis in October 2008. As of Wednesday, the Fed’s stash of assets totaled $5.3 trillion, according to data released on Thursday.

The Fed bought $355 billion of Treasuries and mortgage-backed bonds in the last week in what is now an open-ended commitment to stabilize financial markets rocked by the outbreak and the halt in economic activity that has come in its wake. It also offered more than $200 billion in credit through so-called foreign currency swap lines to other central banks to allow them to pump much-needed greenbacks into their jurisdictions to help foreign borrowers stay current with their dollar-denominated liabilities.

The weekly snapshot of the Fed’s balance sheet, released each Thursday, also showed sizable demand for a pair of brand new liquidity facilities aimed at stabilizing money markets and supporting primary dealers, the banks that transact directly with the central bank. The new Primary Dealer Credit Facility had been tapped for $27.7 billion in loans as of Wednesday, while the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility had borrowings of $30.6 billion.

Read more …

Which bunch of fools decided to have that vote?

Broward Poll Workers Test Positive For COVID-19 (L10)

Two poll workers have been positively diagnosed with coronavirus, according to a statement from The Broward County Supervisor of Elections. One of the workers was only at Precinct V011 on Tuesday, March 17, Election Day, which is located at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Hollywood. The other worked at V020 at the David Park Community Center (also in Hollywood) as well as a Weston early voting location. The supervisor said that county staff as well as other poll workers at the locations have been notified of the situation. However, voters who were at the polls in person on March 17 at either of those locations or who voted early at the Weston early voting location may “wish to take appropriate steps and seek medical advice.”

Read more …

Because of western testing that may seem like a high number, but it’s not.

Moscow Laboratories Will Conduct 13,000 Tests For Coronavirus Every Day (Tass)

The laboratories in Moscow will carry out up to 13,000 tests for the novel coronavirus per day, Deputy Mayor Anastasiya Rakova said on Thursday. “Last week, only federal laboratories were authorized to conduct tests. We have fully joined this effort, launching nine laboratories. Today we are conducting nearly 4,000 tests for the coronavirus in Moscow laboratories. In the coming week w will boost the capacity to 13,000 [tests] per day,” Rakova told a TV program hosted by Vladimir Solovyov on Rossiya-1 channel. According to Rakova, the authorities were preparing for all scenarios of how the events would unfold. “Increasing the number of people who are to be tested for the coronavirus is a necessary condition and a crucial step for stopping the spread of the virus,” she stressed.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus – named COVID-19 by the WHO – have been reported in more than 150 countries. [..]Russia has recorded 840 coronavirus cases, with more than half of them in Moscow. Some 38 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals, and two people have died.

Read more …

When the desire for optimist political messaging becomes fully irresponsible.

New Zealand Coronavirus Deaths During Lockdown Could Be Just 20 – Modelling (G.)

Jacinda Ardern has implored New Zealanders to “stay local” during a four-week countrywide lockdown as modelling showed that strict measures adopted by the country could limit deaths to 0.0004% of the population – or about 20 people. Research released by Te Punaha Matatini suggested that, left unchecked, the virus could eventually infect 89% of New Zealand’s population and kill up to 80,000 people in a worst-case scenario. According to the research, intensive care beds would reach capacity within two months and the number of patients needing intensive care would exceed 10 times capacity by the time the virus peaked.

However, with the strictest suppression measures, which the country has adopted, the fatalities would drop to just 0.0004%. Hospital capacity would not be exceeded for over a year. These measures included physical distancing, case isolation, household quarantine, and closing schools and universities and would require the restrictions to remain in place until a vaccine or other treatment was developed. However, researchers noted such strategies can “delay but not prevent the epidemic”. “When controls are lifted after 400 days, an outbreak occurs with a similar peak size as for an uncontrolled epidemic,” the researchers wrote. The government has currently mandated a four-week lockdown.

Read more …

Zero recognition of living in a bubble.

Coronavirus Job Losses Will Raise Mortgage Stress More Than GFC Did (

As job losses continue to rise because of shutdowns in place to fight the coronavirus crisis, the number of Australians struggling to repay their mortgages is expected to lift to higher levels than seen during the global financial crisis. Credit rating agency S&P Global has warned the number of Australians falling behind on their mortgage repayments is likely to soar. “We currently expect increases in arrears to be higher than during the 2008 global financial crisis, given the wide-ranging effects on the economy stemming from the sudden disruption to economic activity,” S&P analyst Erin Kitson said. Australia avoided mass defaults during the GFC, with mortgage arrears rising to 1.69 per cent after the 2008 crisis, from a pre-crisis average of about 1.40 per cent.

The latest S&P data said mortgage arrears were 1.36 per cent in January, up from 1.28 per cent last December. Ms Kitson could not put a number on the exact number of Australian households that would be impacted by arrears but noted that many of those facing difficulty would be the self-employed. But the Federal Government’s stimulus packages and hardship relief measures from banks would limit some of the damage, Ms Kitson added. To fight the economic threat, the Government will announce a third stimulus package, expected within days. Many banks have also recently announced COVID-19 support packages that provide affected borrowers with an option to defer their repayments for up to six months.

The Reserve Bank cuts interest rates to a record low and announces a quantitative easing program for the first time in its history to help prevent a coronavirus-driven recession. And regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has said if a borrower who has been meeting their repayment obligations until recently chooses to take up the repayment holiday, then the bank need not classify that period as “arrears”. Other emergency measures aimed at banks include an emergency interest rate cut and $90 billion in cheap 0.25-per-cent funding for three years for small business loans.

Read more …

One day the Pentagon stops all troop movements, the next day the US declares Maduro a terrorist, and the allies, want nno part of this.

Seeing your soldiers die of corona would be much too close to WWI mass Spanish flu deaths in the trenches.

France, Czechs, & Other US Allies Exit Iraq Over COVID-19 Fears (ZH)

The United States has shown itself willing to both keep up its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran and its proxies while riding roughshod over Iraqi sovereignty by remaining in the country even as Baghdad leaders and the broader population demand a final exit. But in another sign Europe is ready to divorce itself from US aims in the region, France has abruptly withdrawn its forces from the country after being there for five years. Interestingly the prime reason given was troop safety concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, but we imagine European leaders likely now see an opportunity to make a swift and easy exit without provoking the ire of their US counterparts. International correspondents say this includes French withdrawal from six bases, with a small contingent of about 100 troops remaining in the country.

The Czech Ministry of Defense also announced the exit of its forces Wednesday, which followed a large contingent of British forces leaving last week, also on fears of coronavirus exposure during the mission. “British, French, Australian and Czech troops who were coaching Iraqi counterparts were being temporarily sent home as Baghdad had put a hold on training operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reports the AFP this week. All had been there to support coalition anti-ISIL operations led by Washington. But as the US mission to defeat the Islamic State has lately become less relevant given the demise of the terror group, Washington’s focus became Iranian influence inside Iraq – far beyond the original mission scope. The US itself had been reportedly drawing down from certain bases, but is not expected to ultimately depart given the current high state of tensions with Iran-backed militias in the country.

Read more …

The stimulus bill has opened access to assictance for the entire gig economy.

Spike in Unemployment Claims is Even More Horrid Than it Appears (WS)

This morning, the US Dept. of Labor announced that 3.283 million people had filed initial unemployment claims in the week ended March 21. We were warned yesterday that today’s initial claims would be horrid. In his press conference yesterday concerning the coronavirus, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that California by itself had “just passed the 1 million mark” in unemployment claims since March 13 — and this might include claims to be reflected in the next reporting week. And it’s going to get worse. The five largest counties of the San Francisco Bay Area were the first major region in the US to go into lockdown on March 17. The State of California followed on March 20, toward the end of the unemployment-claims reporting week (through March 21), and many other states followed within days – and many of those claims were filed after this reporting week had ended. This is the mind-blowing effect what started to happen in the week ended March 21:

The report by the Department of Labor this morning listed some sectors that were particularly hard hit by “COVID-19 virus impacts”: • Services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services; • health care and social assistance services; • arts, entertainment and recreation; • transportation and warehousing; • manufacturing industries. However, this horrid spike in claims only shows a partial picture. Since the end of that reporting week, lockdowns have spread to many other states, and companies in those states are now struggling with how to cope. Many companies had already laid off people before the lockdowns – and this is reflected in today’s unemployment claims. But much of the fallout from those lockdowns and their secondary effects will be reflected in future reports.

The gig economy, as the US economy has been called due to the growth of business models that shift labor from employees to contract workers, is unprepared for this. Under current rules, gig workers cannot file for unemployment claims – though the stimulus package will change this. And for now, they have not filed for unemployment claims. But their hours of many have been cut, and others lost their gigs entirely. This includes musicians whose gigs were eliminated when bars, restaurants, and clubs shut down. It includers actors and singers and artists. It includes Uber and Lyft drivers whose business has dwindled. It includes self-employed vacation-rental entrepreneurs with some units on Airbnb that no one is booking because the travel industry has shut down. It includes tech workers whose projects have been put on hold. It includes instructors and coaches of all kinds – such as figure skating coaches, language coaches, and corporate coaches. And so on. Many millions of people.

Read more …

The battle between getting closer together and staying further apart. Stuck between social distancing and political distancing.

What Should The EU Do Now: 3-Point Plan For Averting A Depression (Varoufakis)

With Lives, Livelihoods and the Union on the brink, the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest test of the European project in the history of the Union — and we are failing. Solidarity was meant to be a foundational principle of the EU. But solidarity is missing at the moment it is most needed. COVID-19 has revealed a fundamental truth: Europe is only as healthy as its sickest resident, only as prosperous as its most bankrupted. But the EU’s leadership is paralysed by its beggar-thy-neighbour – and now sicken-thy-neighbour – mindset. The price of this failure will not merely be lives lost and livelihoods destroyed. It will be the disintegration of the Union itself. In line with its Green New Deal for Europe, DiEM25 offers a 3-point plan to protect all European residents, avert an economic depression, and prevent the collapse the Union.

Our plan is premised on four basic facts.
1) Public debt will, and must, rise: The precipitous fall in private sector incomes must be replaced by government expenditure. If not, bankruptcies will destroy much of Europe’s productive capacity and, thus, deplete the tax base even further.

2) The wholesale rise in public debt must not divide us: The last euro crisis wrecked some member-states’ fiscal position while improving the fiscal position of others. The results are wildly different fiscal absorption capacities across the eurozone. If the rise in public debt is not a shared burden, the new euro crisis will destroy the last chance to hold the European Union together once the virus itself has been defeated.

3) A Eurobond is essential, but the devil is in its details: Nine eurozone governments have rightly demanded the issue of a Eurobond so that the burden of rising public debt is shared. But the most important questions remain: Which institution should issue it? And who will back it? DiEM25 believes there is only one answer: an ECB-Eurobond backed solely by the ECB.

4) A Eurobond is essential, but it is not enough: Two more interventions are needed. During the pandemic, Europe must inject directly cash into every citizen’s bank account immediately so as to prevent as many bankruptcies and lost livelihoods as possible. Once the pandemic recedes, Europe must embark upon a sizeable, effective and common green investment program so as to improve Europe’s overall capacity to bounce back.

Read more …

I haven’t had time to listen to the whole thing. But I miss Dylan Ratigan.

Dylan Ratigan: “An Abomination Beyond Comprehension” – “Bernie Folded” (Dore)

Jimmy Dore talks to Dylan Ratigan

Read more …

In the midst of the corona crisis,, Bob Dylan dropped a 17-minute song, on the murder of JFK. It’s his first original song in 8 years, and also of course since getting the Nobel Prize.. And why not. For help with lyrics go here

The day that they killed him, someone said to me, ‘Son
The age of the Antichrist has only begun.’
Air Force One coming in through the gate
Johnson sworn in at 2:38
Let me know when you decide to thrown in the towel
It is what it is, and it’s murder most foul

What’s new, pussycat? What’d I say?
I said the soul of a nation been torn away
And it’s beginning to go into a slow decay
And that it’s 36 hours past Judgment Day

Muder Most Foul (Bob Dylan)

Read more …

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Thanks everyone for your wonderful donations over the past few days.




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Home Forums Debt Rattle March 27 2020

Viewing 35 posts - 1 through 35 (of 35 total)
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  • #56104

        • More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know (BF) • We Could Watch Entire Populations Vanish (IC) • Coronavirus Could Kill
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle March 27 2020]

    V. Arnold

    It offends the human ego that nature is indifferent to us…

    Indeed. But no longer; nature is fighting back; with a vengeance…


    Boris Johnson tests positive. Maybe that’s what it takes.

    V. Arnold

    Boris Johnson tests positive. Maybe that’s what it takes.

    I dunno; is that poetic justice? It sure should be…


    “Africa. Pray.”
    I absolutely agree with this.
    The only countries that can afford a quarantine are countries that can invent money. When fiat money collapses, the people will be faced with same option that their ancestors faced. Accept the chance that you may catch the disease or accept that you may survive or die, or the certainty that your family will starve if you don’t work .
    This was a no brainer for our ancestors


    I know hindsight is 20-20 but even rudimentary risk assessment tells us that when the potential is low but the outcome is devastating you still have to account and insure against it. Every other President understood this even the ones without tRumps “great and unmatched wisdom” Instead tRump eliminated the office of pandemic- preparedness. How can anyone think he is doing a good job. I do not understand.

    from the excellent article below this quote
    “Partly, that’s because the White House is a ghost town of scientific expertise. A pandemic-preparedness office that was part of the National Security Council was dissolved in 2018. On January 28, Luciana Borio, who was part of that team, urged the government to “act now to prevent an American epidemic,” and specifically to work with the private sector to develop fast, easy diagnostic tests. But with the office shuttered, those warnings were published in The Wall Street Journal, rather than spoken into the president’s ear. Instead of springing into action, America sat idle.”

    Dr D Rich

    @ lasttwo

    “…America sat idle.” I don’t know, but sounds like broad distribution victim blaming. Obviously bad things don’t happen to a Chosen people. Most societies possess a promotional mythology for storytelling.

    I do see one flaw in your logic. Even without the vaunted leadership from within the federal government’s office of pandemic preparedness, what was preventing the private sector, noteworthy for its indefatigable initiative and seminal brilliance, from carrying out the necessary work as a duty to the larger society from which it derives profit?

    Dr. D

    Let’s see if I can describe this properly: Commenter notes that the numbers we are seeing are 7 days in the rear view mirror. R0 notes that that we may have far more than 10x the number of untested or unsymptomatic cases. Let’s say NYC has 37,000. So if they’re doubling every 6 days that’s 75,000 x say 20x unknown/untested = 1.5 Million in NYC already have it. There are only 8.6M people in the city so we are 1/6th through.

    Yet on the other side, the ICU/death cases, those are 100%. No one who needs the ICU waits 7 days just to keep the reported numbers in sync. So we are looking at ICU death numbers essentially 7 days ahead of the tested/reported numbers, and then never-reported, never-symptomatic which we know is wildly higher.

    We have 280 NYC deaths. Per 1.5M people today’s estimated real infection. 0.018% death rate. If we are 1/6th through, 6 x 280 = 1,680 total deaths. Over say 3 months = 18.6 people/day. Normal death rate for NYC = 54,000. Even if those were all additional deaths — which is completely untrue, perhaps 80% would happen anyway because most people are over 70 and already have major underlying illness – that would add only 3%.

    I can’t prove the exact numbers — and neither can they — but we can collectively agree, assume, and know this. So if I know this sitting in my parent’s basement, the WHO, CDC, Hopkins, Fauci DON’T know this? Oxford does. They published the study yesterday, which pretty sure BoJo, as head of state, read weeks ago. If he has the virus, why would he care? Virtually no one dies of it.

    Would the Diamond Princess indicate this for anyone with passable math a month ago? 100% exposure among the 100% fatality group (over 60) and 11 dead of 2,670 passengers (assumes all crew are below 50) = 0.4% fatality among the only group who is at ANY measurable risk at all. Why do you think they locked them in and ran the test?

    Look, I’m relatively weak at math as you know. But I did take competent math in grade school and retain it. I have a calculator function on my home computer. So do you.

    You’re being conned. We’ve shut down a planet of 8 Billion for the deaths of one small town and you the people beg slavishly for open-ended martial law under Cheeto and give $6 Trillion leveraged 50:1 to the super-wealthy who will run that martial law and who are not subject to it, as always under Fascist, Socialist regimes. 4,400 Allies died on Normandy. Cuomo says he won’t let one death happen, not even for the sake of freedom, not for his country, not for any reason at all.

    If only they showed such love when 30,000/year were being carried away, with all the morgues full and all the orphans left from only ONE cause during the 10 years of opioids in Kentucky and Arkansas. Can’t care/won’t care/didn’t care. But the death of ONE New Yorker! Why I say old chum! Math? Math says the life of a Coastal is now measurably 1,000x more important that the life of a Flyover. But we knew that for years. Sue Collins wrote a whole book on it.

    If not a single person will risk themselves, will die for our principles of law, equality, and freedom who am I to say? Does any group who so cowers and begs and abandon their neighbors deserve better? We’re going to fight a war against a worldwide, invisible enemy and not lose a single man. If a single man is lost, or even risked, we’ll surrender all instantly, on the spot as we have a sub-0.4% chance of dying. Right? Sound good? Sign-up sheet is at the door. Let us all know which you choose, who you are.



    At last, Bringing the troops home
    • France, Czechs, & Other US Allies Exit Iraq Over COVID-19 Fears (ZH)


    “If not a single person will risk themselves, will die for our principles of law, equality, and freedom who am I to say? Does any group who so cowers and begs and abandon their neighbors deserve better? We’re going to fight a war against a worldwide, invisible enemy and not lose a single man. If a single man is lost, or even risked, we’ll surrender all instantly, on the spot as we have a sub-0.4% chance of dying. Right? Sound good? Sign-up sheet is at the door. Let us all know which you choose, who you are.”

    Well said Dr.D, Your entire post. Never thought I would see the day that so many of my alternatively thinking friends would be so fearful and willing to give up everything.
    I guess I understand the people in the Jim Jones cult better now. Isolate them, make them fearful, and saturate their lives with fear and they’ll do the unthinkable.
    Be careful people. There is more than one Lori Vallow end end of world cults out there masquerading as spiritually enlightened. Scared people fall for the dardest things.



    The US seems a perfect place for the virus to advance.

    Much has been made about the Spring Breakers, usually under the tagline of #COVIDIOTS, but are they?

    At their age they are unlikely to suffer serious illness, and are more likely to become asymptomatic carriers. Those most at risk are the Baby Boomers. This is the generation which has sucked up most of the future wealth of the US and left the bill to the Spring Breaker generation.

    It is in the [logical] interest of the youngest generation to spread the disease as widely as possible!


    “At their age they are unlikely to suffer serious illness, and are more likely to become asymptomatic carriers. Those most at risk are the Baby Boomers. This is the generation which has sucked up most of the future wealth of the US and left the bill to the Spring Breaker generation.”

    Sorry about your daddy issues. The mythical boomers have been over the hill for a long time. They don’t have power over you. Stop making excuses. Step up to the plate and be part of the solution.
    Anyway, a generation is defined as anybody that has reached the age of reason at any point in time. That would include you.


    ” France, Czechs, & Other US Allies Exit Iraq Over COVID-19 Fears ”

    zero, that may not be the reason they’re considering leaving. Might be a different not so good mission


    Dr D Rich not sure what you mean . I understand putting Pence in charge should have fixed it. His chosen one standing and all.. and alas the private sector did not step up.- not enough profit stockpiling masks when buying your own stock with virually free taxpayer money was paying so much better.
    Cuts to the CDC, elimination of the pandemic preparedness office and putting unqualified people who ignore science in charge of science type things. Not insuring for high impact – low probability events is squarely a leadership responsiblity and in this case a leadership failure. It is a mistake any mediocre 1st year basic progect manager would not make. if the threat cannot be prevented contingencies should be in place to mitigate the damage. simple project management 101. This president cripppled the country by eliminating offices and departments that protected the american people for decades if not longer without understanding their function. the depression that will follow is on Trump. If it had not been the virus it would have been something else. His hatred for obama made him the bigger fool. imho



    I am a Baby Boomer with health issues and have been self-isolating for the past ten days. I own a 4-bed house on the edge of London, I have savings in 4 figures, and receive three pensions! Not something that most 20 year olds can look forward to. If I die that wealth will be distributed mainly to younger generations, and similarly with other Boomers.

    I wrote the piece somewhat tongue in cheek but there is an element of truth in it.

    You say the Boomers are over the hill, but they run America! The Presidential candidates and most of Congress are Boomers, and I would guess the Senate. Plus people like George Soros and other billionaires who manipulate the world for fun [and profit].

    “Shame about granny, but the money will come in useful!”


    New York 140000 people tested 44000 with the virus. 44/140 little in my head math about 30% x 20 million =
    fill in your own disaster movie quote
    your gonna need a bigger boat
    Must go faster
    Somewhere in the world the wrong pig met up with the wrong bat
    “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?” “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” — oops sorry that last one was not from a movie.


    Somebody here loves jazz as much as I do, right? Let’s compare this:

    Duke Rockin in Rhythm

    where Duke steals the show

    with this:

    Weather Report Rockin in Rhythm

    where Wayne Shorter does likewise.

    Blaming Boomers is hard to resist even if it’s not our fault any more than the G.I. Generation’s… and they fucked up a lot of shit too. We’re such a huge target and the worst did happen on our watch.

    If we should blame any generation, it’s the bunch in charge during the 20s/30s. They overturned a plausibly viable Melting Pot urban culture and pout it on the path toward today’s suburban isolated lifestyle heavy on the gas and light on the kind of self-reliance farmers used to know. If anyone can find a copy, a short story by R.A. Lafferty called Interurban Queen expolains the dynamic uncannily well.

    But blaming and shaming is for suckers. I should know: I suck.


    Hi Ilargi,

    I can tell you from Los Angeles that COVID-19 numbers published by the public health departments of Los Angeles County and Orange County are ridiculous.

    I have been sitting at home this week recovering from COVID-19. I will be ready for work on Monday. I have the tell-tale signs of COVID-19. The illness comes in three stages. The first stage is an annoying head cold or diarrhea. The person gets over that and feels better. At day five the fever and body aches appear. At day nine the virus starts attacking the lungs. I am fine. My lungs are fine. I have no problems. I am fifty-one years old and in perfect health. However, I can tell you that while laying down with a fever I had the feeling that I was holding a tiger by the tail. It was clear to me that if my immune system lost containment of the virus, I would be in big trouble.

    Today the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Web Site posts that there are 1300 cases and 22 deaths. The deaths number is probably accurate, but the cases number is ridiculous. This virus is everywhere. There are twelve million people in Los Angeles County and Orange County. I would be surprised if less than a million people in Los Angles County and Orange County have the virus. I have no data to back up my wild-ass guess. The bottom line of my estimate is that the infection rate is orders of magnitude greater than the publicly published numbers and that the hospitalization rate and death rate are far lower than the publicly published numbers. My wild-ass guess is that when we finally crunch the numbers we will find out that the death rate will be under 0.1% and that the rate of infected people requiring medical attention of any sort will be under 1%.

    I am not suggesting that the lockdown is overkill. I am not suggesting that the virus is not a killer for those who cannot handle it. I am just suggesting that the virus is far more widespread than the public health agencies are acknowledging and that for the vast majority of people the illness is far less dramatic than news reports would suggest.


    “I wrote the piece somewhat tongue in cheek but there is an element of truth in it.”
    Glad to hear that it’s tongue in cheek. I missed that. I’m also what some might describe as a boomer, although a somewhat despicable one in America’s flyover land. Yes we voted for Trump but we also voted for Obama at least once. So we are not racist. Obama was barely a boomer, at least as defined by his age. So the nation was fooled by younger blood also. That’s why I don’t like to sub-divide age groups and prefer to use the concept of everybody that is here at the time.
    My children and grandchildren and most that they associate with do not blame the worlds, or the nations problems on any particular demographic. They are aware that the people that are currently’ in charge’ are there because of a culture of corporate “money talks”.
    Under this arrangement, the successor of the boomers will be hand picked younger people, probably similar to Hunter.

    Carlos Jimenez

    Dr. D your post brings a needed counterbalance and a sense of perspective. After 2 weeks of self isolation at home on my return trip from Argentina I decided to get out and visit my GP’s office with all the regular tests in hand that I run through down there on the free public health system and let him have a look. Total uneventful if not for the absence of patients. From there on it was a short hop over the bridge to Key Biscayne from Miami so I went to have lunch with a cousin working off his cabana and on to drop by unannounced to other friends’ home that were shooting the breeze in the back patio… and they backed off as if a leper with a bell breached their security perimeter! “What are you doing here?, you shouldn’t be here!” -well I just come out of Ocean Club and I figure I’d stop to say hello- “Ocean Club? there are 5 covid cases there, oh no blah blah blah”. I left feeling guilty and perturbed at the same time because of the obvious histeria and fear about somebody standing 10 feet away or more. Far from being cavalier about this pandemic I’ve been reading up on it extensively and early on, to the point of paranoia. It just so happens that I was moved to reposition my stance on this issue, giving priority to look into the health of my soul and then my body because in the end, in a long enough time line we all… unless you are American and believe death is optional…better self examine to be ready for the ultimate Panagra flight. And so I relaxed my fears and decided to go out the house. Yet, Doctors are dying, 9 yesterday in the Philippines, one near home today. Two Italian nurses checking out under unimaginable stress… Hard to keep a cool head. That’s why, thank you for your well thought out perspective, it gives us the chance to expand the limits of our options.


    US will break 100,000 in a few hours. Winning.


    Here is a link to an analysis of statistical modelling coauthored by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:


    100,000 breached.


    Taleb is very correct in his assessment that the precautionary principle is the only viable approach. Which means you have to hedge for the worst, and only after that may there be other options.

    What he doesn’t say clearly enough, I think, is that the ignorant politicians and their science advisers (who only know how to model), as well as the equally ignorant media, have been so late in reacting they should all be pink slipped. Imagine people would have paid attention to the Jan 25 piece he references, when it was published (it advised “moderate distancing”, immediately).

    A report last week said if China had acted 3 weeks earlier 95% of its cases could have been prevented. That is true everywhere.


    Communities are so scared of the virus that they are taking steps to find shelter and help for the street people, the most vulnerable.
    Besides me, Who would have foreseen that coughing and spitting would be capable of making changes to our social/economic systems.
    I went for a country drive.
    I noticed, outside the city, that many RV owners have been relocating their RV from storage. I assume, to save expenses or to house a friend or relative who lost their job. The RV with sliders that are open look occupied. I saw 4 RV setup on forestry road. (Rent free camping)
    I feel that things are different and things are changing. It wasn’t just because or reduced traffic.


    Breaking news
    Employers,in Canada and USA, are going to receive fed money for wages, if they keep their workers hired, and producing more inventory that will not be sold.
    What could go wrong?!!!

    Dr D Rich

    Ya gotta pay attention to Dr. D and his knowledge of probability and statistics applied to medicine.

    So what about 100,000.
    Here’s the 2018-19 Flu season data:
    *** symptomatic illness – 35,520,883
    ***medical visits- 16,520,350
    ***hospitalizations- 490,561
    ***deaths- 34,157

    In the 2017-18 Flu season the numbers were 30% to 75% higher in each category.

    There was no drama back then, just one and two years ago, except they closed the ER and inpatient wards to additional admissions. And none of those hospital administrators CEO, general counsel, one RN, one finance officer and 2 MDs all making $550,000 to $1.2 million per annum prepared the medical center for this future and comparatively minor disaster.

    I already related my personal (medicine calls it anecdotal) experience with medical center closure to admissions and a respiratory illness cluster in my clinic during a concurrent major hospital demolition, renovation and $75 million dollar construction project.

    That situation has yet to be investigated for potential causes such influenza virus, RSV respiratory synctitial virus, aspergillus released from demolition or a pneumoconiosis from non-biological material released from demolition.

    Dr D Rich



    The amount of concepts Bill Waterson and the population at large get wrong is astonishing.


    “The horrific scale of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic is hard to fathom. The virus infected 500 million people worldwide and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims— that’s more than all of the soldiers and civilians killed during World War I combined.

    “While the global pandemic lasted for two years, the vast majority of deaths were packed into three especially cruel months in the fall of 1918. Historians now believe that the fatal severity of the Spanish flu’s “second wave” was caused by a mutated virus spread by wartime troop movements.”

    from this article by The HIstory Channel

    Seeing as how it’s not about Hitler or WWII, should we trust it?


    the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic
    I don\t know why
    ….. my grand father lived ….. My father lived …. and I don’t know why ….. I’m still here.
    Only the essential are working.
    Too many have been proven to be non-essential ????
    B.C. defines essential services in fight against COVID-19

    Here’s a breakdown of services deemed essential in B.C.:
    ( I dare you to look to see if you are part of the essential/needed)


    If Dr D’s assumptions and math are correct, then Bolsonaro will turn out to be the most enlightened Head of State on the planet. Stay tuned.

    It won’t be long before they ramp up the blood serum tests that will make it possible to evaluate how many people became infected, never developed symptoms, and now have antibodies. That will be the only way to test the theory that vast numbers of people have already been infected and developed immunity so this is no big deal after all. But only a week ago the “get back to work” crowd was arguing that 93% of people who were being tested were negative. So it seems like wishful thinking to me. But let us see when we have the data.

    For now, I look at the air pollution data in Wuhan still showing clean air, I see the police riots on the bridge at zero hedge, I hear about stacked up urns evidencing a much higher death rate than the Chinese authorities reported, I see the lines outside the Chinese hospitals, and I think is serious on a macro scale. China would not have shut down its economy if it was no big deal. But let us wait and see. Six weeks ago I took a screenshot of the official numbers on my phone. On February 16 Korea had 29 cases. Italy had 3 cases. The US had 15 cases. The UK had 9 cases. Much has changed in six weeks. So let us see where we are in another six weeks.


    In our family, some good news.

    Whatever kind of flu my wife had she seems to be recovering and no longer has a fever. She was the one we were most worried about especially her lungs.

    What my daughter and wife had is the weirdest flu I have ever seen! To me the flu hits you right between the eyes! You know you have been hit! Then it backs up just to make sure you have been it hard enough!

    Tonight I was texting with my brother who works for GM in engineering in Detroit.

    First we discussed making face masks.

    Both GM & Ford are making masks. The fabric used to make masks is only made in China and they are not allowing any fabric to be exported. So what they are doing is having a US auto supplier in South Carolina that makes auto sound deaden material tweak their machinery to reduce their density from 75% to 25%. This will allow this supplier to produce 1 million square yards of the same spun polypropylene fabric used to make the fabric used in face masks!

    The supplier is supposedly tweaking their machinery this weekend! One million square yards of needed face mask fabric will be available by this coming Friday! So that is very good news for Americans!

    Then we talked about GM making ventilators. My brother spoke directly to a production engineer involved in this project.

    GM in the last 2 to 3 weeks has sourced the over 700 parts needed to produce ventilators. Production will start in Kokomo, Indiana this coming week with a planned capacity of 1,000 ventilators per day! This ventilator production is being done by what used to be known as Delco Electronics, GM’s radio supplier. Again more good news for Americans!

    The big difference that I see between the US and Canada, is that private companies are being used to quickly ramp up needed medical supplies. In Ontario, the public health service is resisting the use of private companies! Therefore we are experiencing huge bottlenecks every step of the way!

    From what I have seen NYS can test more people per day than all of Canada put together! P.S. Ironically NYS greater testing ability seems to be causing a mass flood of NYers to flee the state! To states with less testing!

    V. Arnold

    CV-19 may well bust the U.S. military overseas…
    CV-19 is changing everything in ways we never imagined…
    Welcome to a brand new world; which we are in no way prepared to deal with…
    Stay lose and don’t let the bastards get you…


    WES: very pleased about your wife.

    I keep my eyes open for positive synergies like you report in GM etc. The darker the clouds, the more silver the linings. The good thing about things like this pandemic is that they force positive action from things like, for exampole*, panicked herd pressure.

    *I like that typo. Doctor: ‘This is an exam pole. You may feel a little discomfort at first.’

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