Apr 192020
 April 19, 2020  Posted by at 11:13 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unknown A couple wearing smog masks, London 1953


Did COVID19 Outbreak Start Months Earlier And Not In Wuhan? (RT)
New Wave Of Infections Threatens To Collapse Japan Hospitals (AP)
Florida Prison System Begins To Reveal Ravages Of Coronavirus (MH)
UK Care Home Deaths ‘Far Higher’ Than Official Figures (BBC)
Anger In Sweden As Elderly Pay Price For Coronavirus Strategy (O.)
A Scam To Enrich Execs: COVID19 Bailouts Fuel More Share Buybacks (Feierstein)
The Trickle-Up Bailout (Matt Taibbi)
Russia Reports Record Daily Rise In Coronavirus Cases (R.)
Spain To Allow Children Outside After Six Weeks (BBC)
CDC Reviewing ‘Stunning’ Testing Results From Boston Homeless Shelter (B25)
38 Days When Britain Sleepwalked Into Disaster (Times)
UK Medical Staff Face Weeks Without Protective Gowns (O.)
Lockdown Puts Increasing Strain On Britain’s Food System (Ind.)
Pandemics Have Reshaped The World In Unpredictable Ways Throughout History (ProsM)



“The curve is flattening; we can end lockdown now”


“This parachute has slowed my rate of descent; I can take it off now”






Cases 2,345,476 (+ 84,051 from yesterday’s 2,261,425)

Deaths 161,196 (+ 6,462 from yesterday’s 147,378)




From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-



From Worldometer – NOTE: among Active Cases, Serious or Critical fell to 3%



From SCMP:



From COVID19Info.live:





Just as everyone says it was the lab.

Did COVID19 Outbreak Start Months Earlier And Not In Wuhan? (RT)

The novel coronavirus may have first passed to humans somewhere in southern China months before the outbreak in the city of Wuhan, a new study found, cutting against widely held theories about the origins of the pandemic. Mapping a “network” of coronavirus genomes and tracing mutations over time, a team of researchers led by a Cambridge University geneticist determined the first Covid-19 infection may have come as early as September in a region south of Wuhan, noting the pathogen could have been carried by humans well before it mutated into a more lethal form. “The virus may have mutated into its final ‘human-efficient’ form months ago, but stayed inside a bat or other animal or even human for several months without infecting other individuals,” geneticist Peter Forster told the South China Morning Post.

Phylogenetic network of 160 SARS-CoV-2 genomes © PNAS / Peter Forster

He leads the ongoing yet to be peer-reviewed research, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. “Then, it started infecting and spreading among humans between September 13 and December 7, generating the network we present in [the study]”. Though the virus is thought to have transmitted from bats to another host animal – pangolins are a popular candidate – and finally to humans, the new findings could overturn prevailing ideas as to precisely how, when and where it made the interspecies leap. Initial theories posited the jump to humans took place at a wet market in Wuhan, but the new study has called that into question, suggesting Covid-19 might have originated south of the central-Chinese city.

“If I am pressed for an answer, I would say the original spread started more likely in southern China than in Wuhan.” Any solid conclusions, however, could only be made after analyzing more bats and other potential host animals, as well as tissue samples from early patients, Forster cautioned. “But it is the best assumption we can make at the moment, pending analysis of further patient samples stored in hospitals during 2019,” the researcher told Newsweek in a separate interview.

Read more …

For two whole months, Shinzo Abe had just one thing in mind: the Olympics. Everything else had to be pushed aside.

New Wave Of Infections Threatens To Collapse Japan Hospitals (AP)

Hospitals in Japan are increasingly turning away sick people as the country struggles with surging coronavirus infections and its emergency medical system collapses. In one recent case, an ambulance carrying a man with a fever and difficulty breathing was rejected by 80 hospitals and forced to search for hours for a hospital in downtown Tokyo that would treat him. Another feverish man finally reached a hospital after paramedics unsuccessfully contacted 40 clinics. The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine and the Japanese Society for Emergency Medicine say many hospital emergency rooms are refusing to treat people including those suffering strokes, heart attacks and external injuries.

Japan initially seemed to have controlled the outbreak by going after clusters of infections in specific places, usually enclosed spaces such as clubs, gyms and meeting venues. But the spread of virus outpaced this approach and most new cases are untraceable. The outbreak has highlighted underlying weaknesses in medical care in Japan, which has long been praised for its high quality insurance system and reasonable costs. Apart from a general unwillingness to embrace social distancing, experts fault government incompetence and a widespread shortage of the protective gear and equipment medical workers need to do their jobs. Japan lacks enough hospital beds, medical workers or equipment. Forcing hospitalization of anyone with the virus, even those with mild symptoms, has left hospitals overcrowded and understaffed.

[..] Medical workers are now reusing N95 masks and making their own face shields. The major city of Osaka has sought contributions of unused plastic raincoats for use as hazmat gowns. Abe has appealed to manufacturers to step up production of masks and gowns, ventilators and other supplies. A government virus task force has warned that, in a worst-case scenario where no preventive measures were taken, more than 400,000 could die due to shortages of ventilators and other intensive care equipment. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the government has secured 15,000 ventilators and is getting support of Sony and Toyota Motor Corp. to produce more.

Japanese hospitals also lack ICUs, with only five per 100,000 people, compared to about 30 in Germany, 35 in the U.S. and 12 in Italy, said Osamu Nishida, head of the Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine. Italy’s 10% mortality rate, compared to Germany’s 1%, is partly due to the shortage of ICU facilities, Nishida said. “Japan, with ICUs not even half of Italy’s, is expected to face a fatality overshoot very quickly,” he said. Japan has been limiting testing for the coronavirus mainly because of rules requiring any patients to be hospitalized. Surging infections have prompted the Health Ministry to loosen those rules and move patients with milder symptoms to hotels to free up beds for those requiring more care.

Read more …

Wherever you put large groups of people together, this happens with a highly contagious virus.

Florida Prison System Begins To Reveal Ravages Of Coronavirus (MH)

For weeks the Florida Department of Corrections refused to address rumors that inmates with coronavirus-like symptoms — or those who had come into contact with symptomatic inmates or staff — were being segregated by the hundreds from the general population. That changed on Friday, when the agency acknowledged that more than 4,500 inmates are being isolated in one way or another as COVID-19, the highly infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread throughout the third-largest prison system in the country. As of Friday evening, 45 inmates and 71 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the FDC. Four inmates had died, all of whom had been incarcerated at Blackwater River Correctional Facility, a compound near Pensacola run under contract by the Geo Group.

The medical examiner in Santa Rosa County revealed the deaths. The new data was made public amid a growing chorus of criticism by a handful of lawmakers, including an influential Republican, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who is vice chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. The department found itself on the defensive this week when those four deaths were revealed not by prison administrators — including its communication staff, which has ignored questions from reporters for several weeks — but by journalists who sought out information from the Santa Rosa County medical examiner. After the first two deaths were reported by the News Service of Florida, confirmation was hastily posted on the department’s website.

Read more …

About 20 times higher.

UK Care Home Deaths ‘Far Higher’ Than Official Figures (BBC)

New data has added to growing evidence that the number of deaths linked to coronavirus in UK care homes may be far higher than those recorded so far. The National Care Forum (NCF) estimates that more than 4,000 elderly and disabled people have died across all residential and nursing homes. Its report comes amid calls for accurate data on virus-linked deaths. Only 217 such care home deaths have been officially recorded in England and Wales up to 3 April. The NCF, which represents not-for-profit care providers, said its findings highlight significant flaws in the official reporting of coronavirus-related death statistics.

It collected data from care homes looking after more than 30,000 people in the UK, representing 7.4% of those people living in one of the country’s thousands of care settings. It said that, across those specific homes, in the week between 7 April and 13 April, there had been 299 deaths linked to coronavirus. That was treble the figure for the previous week and double that in the whole of the preceding month. If that number was reflected across all residential and nursing homes, NCF estimated there have been 4,040 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes which are not yet included in official figures.

Read more …

And then the nurses start dying too.

Anger In Sweden As Elderly Pay Price For Coronavirus Strategy (O.)

It was just a few days after the ban on visits to his mother’s nursing home in the Swedish city of Uppsala, on 3 April, that Magnus Bondesson started to get worried. “They [the home] opened up for Skype calls and that’s when I saw two employees. I didn’t see any masks and they didn’t have gloves on,” says Bondesson, a start-up founder and app developer. “When I called again a few days later I questioned the person helping out, asking why they didn’t use face masks, and he said they were just following the guidelines.” That same week there were numerous reports in Sweden’s national news media about just how badly the country’s nursing homes were starting to be hit by the coronavirus, with hundreds of cases confirmed at homes in Stockholm, the worst affected region, and infections in homes across the country.

Since then pressure has mounted on the government to explain how, despite a stated aim of protecting the elderly from the risks of Covid-19, a third of fatalities have been people living in care homes. Last week, as figures released by the Public Health Agency of Sweden indicated that 1,333 people had now died of coronavirus, the country’s normally unflappable state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell admitted that the situation in care homes was worrying. “This is our big problem area,” said Tegnell, the brains behind the government’s relatively light-touch strategy, which has seen it ask, rather than order, people to avoid non-essential travel, work from home and stay indoors if they are over 70 or are feeling ill.

The same day prime minister Stefan Löfven said that the country faced a “serious situation” in its old people’s homes, announced efforts to step up protections, and ordered the country’s health inspectorate to investigate. Lena Einhorn, a virologist who has been one of the leading domestic critics of Sweden’s coronavirus policy, told the Observer that the government and the health agency were still resisting the most obvious explanations. “They have to admit that it’s a huge failure, since they have said the whole time that their main aim has been to protect the elderly,” she said. “But what is really strange is that they still do not acknowledge the likely route. They say it’s very unfortunate, that they are investigating, and that it’s a matter of the training personnel, but they will not acknowledge that presymptomatic or asymptomatic spread is a factor.”

The agency’s advice to those managing and working at nursing homes [..] is that they should not wear protective masks or use other protective equipment unless they are dealing with a resident in the home they have reason to suspect is infected. Otherwise the central protective measure in place is that staff should stay home if they detect any symptoms in themselves. “Where I’m working we don’t have face masks at all, and we are working with the most vulnerable people of all,” said one care home worker, who wanted to remain anonymous. “We don’t have hand sanitiser, just soap. That’s it. Everybody’s concerned about it. We are all worried.” “The worst thing is that it is us, the staff, who are taking the infection in to the elderly,” complained one nurse to Swedish public broadcaster SVT. “It’s unbelievable that more of them haven’t been infected.”

Read more …

No more of this.

A Scam To Enrich Execs: COVID19 Bailouts Fuel More Share Buybacks (Feierstein)

To anyone doubting the Covid-19 bailouts will line executives’ pockets, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says he’ll “find a way around” the rules against it. This after making $150 million while AAL’s stock plummeted 70%. Stock buybacks are the ultimate vehicle of self-enrichment. Consider the following as a ‘case study’ of Wall Street’s legal fraud. Under CEO Doug Parker’s leadership from 2013-2020, American Airlines has seen its stock plummet 70%. When one looks at Parker’s pay awarded vs the company’s three-year average economic profits, his pay-for-performance metrics are abominable. The media worships Parker for his stewardship of AAL during this crisis and reports that, for the past three years, Parker’s salary and bonus were zero.

However, they fail to mention that AAL’s legal Ponzi stock-buyback scheme saw Parker’s 2016-2018 take-home pay rocket to $70.2 million. (According to the FT, Parker’s total award from selling stock since 2013 is $150 million). It’s not bad for Parker, but it’s horrendous for AAL employees, shareholders and American taxpayers who will be stuffed with a $20 billion bailout. Fair? Not on your life. Debt-fuelled stock buybacks and dividend payments are engineered to artificially increase stock prices so that self-interested CEOs like Parker can “earn” higher compensation. Increasing debt creates an illusion of better earnings. However, buybacks cannibalize corporate balance sheets, leaving taxpayers exposed to unlimited “bailouts” when these leveraged bets go wrong.

What’s the difference between rogue hedge fund managers and airline CEOs? Not much, except some airline CEOs have been given golden parachutes to the tune of nearly $17.5 million. So who is enabling these CEOs to line their pockets with taxpayer money? Last summer, the US Federal Reserve released the results of its annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR). The CCAR is a bank stress test, which all the banks passed, and after passing the stress test, the Federal Reserve approved $125 billion in share buybacks! Yet, even though the banks all passed the stress test, the Financial Times recently reported that the president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (who oversaw TARP during the GFC of 2008) is recommending big US banks raise $200 billion in capital now to act as a buffer against economic shock from the “coronavirus pandemic.” This is a bit like putting on your seatbelt after your airbag has already deployed.

Read more …

“..80% of the benefit of the bill went to just 43,000 taxpayers each earning over $1 million a year. The average tax break for those 43,000 individuals was $1.6 million..”

The Trickle-Up Bailout (Matt Taibbi)

Because the CARES Act was rushed to the floor, members didn’t have all of the information they might have wanted before the vote. After the bill passed, Democratic staffers sent these tax provisions in the CARES Act, sections 2303 and 2304, to the Joint Committee on Taxation, to be scored. They were stunned to learn they would cost $195 billion over ten years. In other words, what seemed like a run-of-the-mill offhand legislative pork provision ended up dwarfing the airline bailout and other main parts of the bill. “The cost of caring for this small slice of the wealthiest one percent is greater than the CARES Act funded for all hospitals in America,” says Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett. “It’s greater than CARES provided for all state and local governments.”

The JCT analysis found that 80% of the benefit of the bill went to just 43,000 taxpayers each earning over $1 million a year. The average tax break for those 43,000 individuals was $1.6 million, an interesting number when one considers the loudness of the controversy over $1,200 relief checks for everyone else. Doggett joined Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in sending a letter to the Trump administration, demanding to know the provenance of these tax breaks. “This irresponsible provision must be repealed,” he says. It’s possible we’ll find out someday whose idea it was to insert those breaks. By then, however, other windfalls from the Covid-19 rescue might have rendered the $195 billion bailout appetizer quaint.

With the Fed’s announcement on April 9th of a $2.3 trillion program that includes purchases of junk bonds, the toolkit for support of the financial economy now encompasses nearly every conceivable official response apart from subsidy of stock markets. The sheer quantity of money raining down on the finance sector appears transformational, a “joyful noise” heard around the world.

Read more …

Russia has done something very wrong.

Russia Reports Record Daily Rise In Coronavirus Cases (R.)

Russia on Sunday reported a record rise of 6,060 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 42,853, the Russian coronavirus crisis response center said. The number of coronavirus cases in Russia began rising sharply this month, although it had reported far fewer infections than many western European countries in the outbreak’s early stages.

Read more …

There should be different ways.

Spain To Allow Children Outside After Six Weeks (BBC)

Spanish children have been kept indoors since 14 March, under strict measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. Now Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez aims to relax the rule on 27 April so they can “get some fresh air”. Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who has young children herself, this week pleaded with the government to allow children outside. Spain has seen more than 20,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic and almost 200,000 reported cases. In a televised briefing on Saturday evening, Mr Sánchez said Spain had left behind “the most extreme moments and contained the brutal onslaught of the pandemic”.

But he said he would ask parliament to extend Spain’s state of alarm to 9 May as the achievements made were “still insufficient and above all fragile” and could not be jeopardised by “hasty decisions”. Another 565 deaths were reported on Saturday, well down from the peak of the pandemic, and the government allowed some non-essential workers to resume construction and manufacturing last Monday. However, the main lockdown measures remain in place, with adults only allowed out to visit food shops and pharmacies or work considered essential. Children have been barred from leaving their homes completely.

Read more …

“The number of positives was shocking, but the fact that 100 percent of the positives had no symptoms was equally shocking..”

CDC Reviewing ‘Stunning’ Testing Results From Boston Homeless Shelter (B25)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now “actively looking into” results from universal COVID-19 testing at Pine Street Inn homeless shelter. The broad-scale testing took place at the shelter in Boston’s South End a week and a half ago because of a small cluster of cases there. “It was like a double knockout punch. The number of positives was shocking, but the fact that 100 percent of the positives had no symptoms was equally shocking,” said Dr. Jim O’Connell, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which provides medical care at the city’s shelters. O’Connell said that the findings have changed the future of COVID-19 screenings at Boston’s homeless shelters.

“All the screening we were doing before this was based on whether you had a fever above 100.4 and whether you had symptoms,” said O’Connell. “How much of the COVID virus is being passed by people who don’t even know they have it?” The 146 people who tested positive were immediately moved to two different temporary isolation facilities in Boston. According to O’Connell, only one of those patients needed hospital care, and many continue to show no symptoms. “If we did universal testing among the general population, would these numbers be similar?” said Lyndia Downie, president and executive director at the Pine Street Inn.

“I think there are no many asymptomatic people right now. We just don’t know. We don’t have enough data on universal testing to understand how many asymptomatic people are contagious.” Hundreds of tests are now set to be conducted at additional Boston homeless shelters in the coming days. “It tells you, you don’t know who’s at risk. You don’t know what you need to do to contain the virus if you don’t actually have the details or facts,” said Marty Martinez, Boston’s chief of Health and Human Services.

Read more …

His own party appears to be after his head.

38 Days When Britain Sleepwalked Into Disaster (Times)

On the third Friday of January a silent and stealthy killer was creeping across the world. Passing from person to person and borne on ships and planes, the coronavirus was already leaving a trail of bodies. The virus had spread from China to six countries and was almost certainly in many others. Sensing the coming danger, the British government briefly went into wartime mode that day, holding a meeting of Cobra, its national crisis committee. But it took just an hour that January 24 lunchtime to brush aside the coronavirus threat. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, bounced out of Whitehall after chairing the meeting and breezily told reporters the risk to the UK public was “low”.

This was despite the publication that day of an alarming study by Chinese doctors in the medical journal, The Lancet. It assessed the lethal potential of the virus, for the first time suggesting it was comparable to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed up to 50 million people. Unusually, Boris Johnson had been absent from Cobra. The committee — which includes ministers, intelligence chiefs and military generals — gathers at moments of great peril such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other threats to the nation and is normally chaired by the prime minister. Johnson had found time that day, however, to join in a lunar new year dragon eyes ritual as part of Downing Street’s reception for the Chinese community, led by the country’s ambassador.

It was a big day for Johnson and there was a triumphal mood in Downing Street because the withdrawal treaty from the European Union was being signed in the late afternoon. It could have been the defining moment of his premiership — but that was before the world changed. That afternoon his spokesman played down the looming threat from the east and reassured the nation that we were “well prepared for any new diseases”. The confident, almost nonchalant, attitude displayed that day in January would continue for more than a month. Johnson went on to miss four further Cobra meetings on the virus.

As Britain was hit by unprecedented flooding, he completed the EU withdrawal, reshuffled his cabinet and then went away to the grace-and-favour country retreat at Chevening where he spent most of the two weeks over half-term with his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds. It would not be until March 2 — another five weeks — that Johnson would attend a Cobra meeting about the coronavirus. But by then it was almost certainly too late. The virus had sneaked into our airports, our trains, our workplaces and our homes. Britain was on course for one of the worst infections of the most deadly virus to have hit the world in more than a century. Last week, a senior adviser to Downing Street broke ranks and blamed the weeks of complacency on a failure of leadership in cabinet. In particular, the prime minister was singled out. “There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there,” the adviser said.

Read more …

If Osaka can ask for raincoats to be donated as hazmat suits, so can Britain. No shortage of raincoats.

UK Medical Staff Face Weeks Without Protective Gowns (O.)

Doctors and nurses treating Covid-19 patients face shortages of protective full-length gowns for weeks to come, it has emerged, as anger builds over the failure to stockpile the garments. Critical shortages of the gowns have meant that some trusts have already had to make do with the best available alternatives as a result of the shortages, which forced a sudden change in Public Health England (PHE) guidelines on the use of gowns on Friday. Concerns are being raised within the NHS over why the gowns did not form part of the government’s pandemic stockpile. It is understood shortages are already forcing some NHS workers to use the controversial new guidelines, which tell them to wear a plastic apron with coveralls should the specialist fluid-repellent gowns run out. Workers are also advised to reuse washed aprons.

Meanwhile, surgeons are being told by senior colleagues not to put themselves at risk should they be unable to wear a protective gown. Professor Neil Mortensen, from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said surgeons should not risk their health if fluid-repellent gowns or coveralls could not be used. “We are deeply disturbed by this latest change to personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance, which was issued without consulting expert medical bodies,” he said. “After weeks of working with PHE and our sister medical royal colleges to get PPE guidance right, this risks confusion and variation in practice across the country.”

Health unions warned that staff could begin to refuse to work if they felt the new guidelines put them at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health, said: “Managers must be truly honest with health workers and their union reps over the weekend. If gowns run out, staff in high-risk areas may well decide that it’s no longer safe for them to work.” Last night, the British Medical Association (BMA) also warned that it would support doctors who refused to work with inadequate PPE. “There are limits to the level of risk staff can be expected to expose themselves and their patients to,” said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair.

Read more …

No kidding, there’s a video somewhere here entitled: “Flocks of chickens to be slaughtered over coronavirus.. “

Lockdown Puts Increasing Strain On Britain’s Food System (Ind.)

From a mosque in Banbury, taxi drivers left out of work during the lockdown are picking up an unusual fare: hundreds of doughballs and garlic dip that had been destined for local pizza restaurants and are now being diverted to people’s homes. Yasmin Kaduji, who runs Banbury Community Fridge is one of thousands of people working overtime across the UK to get meals to three million people thought to be going hungry due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, at the same time British farmers are warning they have been forced to throw millions of gallons of milk down the drain because it no longer has a buyer, cheesemakers are binning artisan cheese and meat processors have an overabundance of sirloin, rib-eye steaks and prime roasting joints. Supply and demand are severely misaligned.

While supermarket stocks have returned closer to normal after being plundered last month, more deep-rooted problems lay ahead for Britain’s food supplies which are set to come under increasing strain as lockdown is extended for at least another three weeks and could go on for much longer. The problem is not that there is not enough food but that the well-established routes that supply it have been upended so abruptly. When we saw empty shelves last month, the primary cause was not inconsiderate stockpilers, as some government ministers claimed, but the fact that a massive part of the food industry had been shut down overnight without a plan in place for how hundreds of millions of meals would be redirected.

Tim Lang, professor of food policy, at London’s City University, argues that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the fragility of our food system; a system which stretches out over thousands of miles, dozens of countries, and is reliant on migrant labour and air freight. That system has been reshaped, according to Professor Lang’s analysis, largely to suit the interests of nine companies which sell 90 per cent of the food we buy. Supermarkets have been happy to rely on sprawling supply chains that are left exposed during a crisis, as long as the price is right and the product sells. This, along with a “dangerously complacent” government, has left the UK vulnerable in the current situation, Professor Lang argues.

Read more …

But the incumbent order always protests violently first.

Pandemics Have Reshaped The World In Unpredictable Ways Throughout History (ProsM)

In just four years—from 1347 to 1351—between a third and a half of the population of Europe died. That would be world-shaking enough in itself, but it also completely rewrote the social order. Before the Black Death, European society had for centuries been structured around what we’d later call feudalism: to over-simplify massively, the system by which poorer people would work for richer ones in exchange for access to their land, and put up with having no freedom of movement because otherwise they didn’t eat. But when plague caused the population to collapse, food and land prices plummeted, too. Land without workers turned out to be worthless, so the lords found themselves competing for labourers. Despite assorted ruling class efforts to overcome the laws of supply and demand, wages rose, and keeping peasants tied to particular scraps of land proved impossible.

The Black Death didn’t just kill people. It probably killed feudalism, too. It’s too early to know how coronavirus might reshape 21st-century society. But we can certainly speculate. Perhaps, as large chunks of the workforce simultaneously shift to working from home for the first time, it’ll kill the idea that you need to be in the office to get stuff done. If it turns out that employees will do their work even if they’re not literally in their managers’ line of sight, bosses could finally shake their addiction to presenteeism. That could have all sorts of unpredictable knock-on effects: less pressure on transport networks, lower emissions, even relief for overheated housing markets as people discover they can live further from work. Or perhaps it could drive an increase in mothers’ participation in the workforce: more flexible office culture, after all, would make it easier to combine work with caring responsibilities.

[..] Now that a fear of financial ruin might drive sick, contagious people to work when they should be in isolation, perhaps we can go back to talking about the state as the enabler of our freedoms rather than the barrier to them. Or perhaps it won’t: where this will take us, we just don’t know, and your guess is as good as mine. But pandemics have been reshaping the world in unpredictable ways throughout history. If this crisis is even a fraction as serious as it seems, don’t be surprised if the world afterwards looks very unlike the world before.

Read more …


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Home Forums Debt Rattle April 19 2020

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 61 total)
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  • #57477

    Unknown A couple wearing smog masks, London 1953   • Did COVID19 Outbreak Start Months Earlier And Not In Wuhan? (RT) • New Wave Of Infections Th
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle April 19 2020]

    V. Arnold

    Unknown A couple wearing smog masks, London 1953

    Wow; I’da swore that was yesterday; what a rush…67 years ago and counting…
    Hang on; there is much more coming…
    I have to add Ilargi; that’s quite a find; good on you…

    Dr. D

    Covered Boston in yesterday’s comment. (and too much more) So everybody has it now? It’s over? And the death rate is 0.006%, still 4x the flu, but very low?

    I look forward to comparing death rates at the end of the year, lockdown vs no. I think you’ll find the two are similar, with the caveat of destroying the nations’ economy. Would guess since they’re un-lockdowning now – also with no admitted testing or evidence – that I won’t get a victory lap that MORE people die in a lockdown. They didn’t push it quite far enough that food was completely shut off. Keep it in the big muddy where nothing can be proven.

    an alarming study by Chinese doctors in the medical journal, The Lancet.”

    Did no one believe them because of the 100 fake papers The Lancet has printed up til now? Is it time to be embarrassed and examine near-constant failure yet? Nah, actually Taiwan told WHO way ahead, with evidence, and they rejected them.

    nine companies which sell 90 per cent of the food we buy”

    Sure that sounds like Capitalism, free-market competition. Oh wait, I meant the OPPOSITE, where they use the government and the insider banks (but I repeat myself) to PREVENT all competition, and use instant-free money to run all non-insiders out of business. Socialism or Fascism take your pick, but again I repeat myself.

    “It’s too early to know how coronavirus might reshape 21st-century society.”

    Especially since unlike the Black Death, it didn’t kill anyone. You’re going to need a magnifying glass to see the event on the long-term population charts.

    Actual Black Death, last event in France, killed 66.0% of the city. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plague_of_Marseille Apparently we’ve killed 13,000 / 8.3M = 0.1% I would propose that the two events are somewhat dissimilar, and drawing correlations may be unwise.


    I’d pick Fascism, coz that is what it feels like when you see absolutely zero triple bottom line accounting anywhere. We still haven’t gotten around to modelling how shitty our mental and physical health is as a result 9 companies being allowed to just strip mine resources, soil, labour, time, profit etc.
    Yeah kinda feels like Fascim Dr. D.

    V. Arnold

    It’s just all too wonderful to bear…
    I have to pinch myself to be sure it’s not a dream…


    Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA has an ENCHANTING Cassini flyby video of Saturn today.
    Maybe The Virus will make people rethink “manned” space missions. Why send humans when, for a fraction of the price, you can have something like that video?
    I didn’t think that Biden ad was devastating. I think it was typical DNC backward-looking finger-pointing.
    The blame game is afoot, and I tremble when I think where it may lead.
    As Caitlin Johnstone points out, the Democrats blames everything on Russia; the Republicans blames China. Biden has decided on both- bipartisan!
    If the Democrats had a platform (or even a candidate- and I don’t mean HER), they could defeat Trump this year.


    Democrats, Republicans BLAME….


    coincidences, possible, probable
    1. In my neck of the woods, women in retirement homes outnumber the men by a minimum of 5 to 1.
    Since more men die from covid19 than women then there exist a problem that is greater than realized/admitted.

    2. I make an assumption that every year, the seniors, in care homes,always get “the flu shot”.

    3. Children, (less than 20 yrs.), don’t usually get “the flu shot”

    I don’t expect to see a study that would hint that “the flu shot” makes seniors get and die from covid-19


    I believe I described myself as ‘open-minded’ yesterday. I wonder if the following is an example of said ‘open-mindedness’, an aspect of myself that often functions like, and is mistaken for, naivete.

    It’s not *quite* naivete. To be naive requires one not be aware that one is naive. Rather like insanity. Insanity isn’t so much differing from normal or normative cognition or behaviors. Those aspects can place one in a psych ward, sure. A different kind of jail, a place for sequestering people who, on the streets, too much disturb our sense of safety and vehicular traffic flow.

    What makes nuts nuts, and naivete naive, is not being able to distinguish one’s nuttiness/naivete from one’s normalcy/wisdom.

    So trust me, I know it sounds both nutty and naive when I say that maybe what’s horribly wrong with Russia’s cov19 #s is that it is perhaps the one nation in town getting a reasonably accurate count of its infected populace?

    A mind that open needs regular sweeping out during quiet weather, and has to batten down the hatches awhile during rough weather. Doing so allows it to propose ‘obviously idiotic’ questions like ‘Maybe Russia’s problem is that they’re doing government/healthcare’s most critically important job at this stage of the game right?’

    In support of this crazy notion, and fessin’ up front I’m a bit of a Russophile, being someone who does not conflate with the large historic arc that is Russia with its 20th century tangle with utopian politics and the bitter painful obscene mess this made (predictable in hindisght, how most of our predictions work outside functional physics), I now close this equally tangled sentence and cite this link. .

    And this link: As of April 18, 2020, approximately 1.95 million tests for coronavirus (COVID-19) were conducted in Russia

    Other headlines today include this corker: “Contamination at (USA) CDC lab delayed rollout of coronavirus tests (today’s WaPo, no link, fuck them)

    And this: google search results for USA faulty covid-19 tests

    Compare that with this: google search results for Russia faulty covid-19 tests

    My naive logic is that to assume Russia’s spike in reported cases is the result of them doing something very wrong conflicts with the logic bemoaning the lack of accurate testing and how that leads to under-reportage and greater inflation.
    While Russophobic antagonism is prevalent in just about any Western Empire reportage of Russia, this paragraph from: Russia’s growing coronavirus outbreak and its challenge to Vladimir Putin, explained is presumably technically accurate?

    “Covid-19 tests had to be conducted with a locally made device many viewed as faulty. All completed tests had to be sent to a single lab in Siberia for results, causing a massive backlog at the facility. This allowed Russians to continue living their normal lives without knowing if they carried the disease or not, and blinded the Kremlin from tracking the spread.”

    However, the links cited bear only partial relation to its claims.

    The article containing the above-cited paragraph has links for the words ‘locally made device’ ‘single lab in Siberia’ and ‘massive backlog’.

    ‘Locally made device’ The new coronavirus is finally slamming Russia. Is the country ready? mentions no complaints to corroborate ‘many viewed as faulty’.

    ‘single lab in Siberia’ mentions that “Swabs initially had to be shipped to Siberia for analysis at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR. Russia’s Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor)—the country’s analog of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—has just expanded testing to its regional laboratories and the Anti-Plague Research Institute.” (article dated march 26)

    ‘massive backlog’ went ‘pay-or-die’ dark on me before I could steal any of its obviously anti-Russian slanted info, but it’s from Foreign {Policy magazine, so I expect that it too doesn’t earn the claims made by the Vox article containing these links.

    I suppose I could go on deconstructing this stuff. The links don’t even refer to what their hyper-linked words claim, and when they do, don’t substantiate the darkly negative emphasis of the article’s claims. Euromerican press unitedly despises and lies about Russia, and that’s about that. An example is The New Yorker from 3 weeks ago: “The fact that a certain regime is headed for a dead end in the long run doesn’t mean it may not have some advantages on the tactical level.” Melita Vujnovic, the W.H.O. representative in Moscow, recently told CNN, “Testing and identification of cases, tracing contacts, isolation—these are all measures that W.H.O. proposes and recommends, and they were in place all the time.” Whoa. Regarding this ubiquitous Russia-hating, I’ll quote some smart guy (Valery? Shaw?) who said (paraphrase alert): ‘When everyone knows a thing is so, it is almost certainly wrong.’ I think the word is canard. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s probably a hologram of a man in a duck suit?

    Just for fun, here’s someone saying something reasonable about the inevitable flaws in Russia’s first covid-19 tests. Not inevitable because they’re Russian but inevitable because everyonre makes mistakes especially on their first attempts at a new thing. Here’s why the numbers don’t necessarily tell the real story of the COVID-19 pandemic (scroll down to “Faulty Russian Testing Tool?”)

    Not that Russia isn’t in deep shit. The whole world is. But Putin-era Russia has earned my respect and even admiration for a) dealing with the world and itself as the imperfect flop-houses they are, and b) doing so with considerable honesty in terms of (CAPS alert) ACTUALLY ADDRESSING ISSUES AND WORKING TO RESOLVE THEM NOT SHOVE THEM UNDER THE RUG. It learned not to do that from both its USSR years and the crash years of the 90s. SO it may be that this nasty rise in reported infections in Russia is due to that rare thing: public officials and their corporate cohorts actually doing their job. Imperfectly, with the inevitable slowness that ALL bureaucratic responses entail, but nonetheless doing them rather than saying they are while doing the same old shmooze’n’snooze.

    I invite skeptics to tear it apart.

    I Asked


    “I don’t expect to see a study that would hint that “the flu shot” makes seniors get and die from covid-19”

    A test revealiong/admitting just that would hardly be out of the ordinary. It is acknowledged that vaccines have risks and that those risks are greater with frail people like geriatrics and very young children. Some years the risk is greater than others just as some years the vaccine is more spopt-on in addressing anticipatewd mutations than others. Your efficacy/adverse side effects may vary, and this is a canonic tenet of vaccinology as I’ve encountered it.

    Doc Robinson

    Did a little bit of fact-checking.

    From yesterday’s comments
    Dr D: “This morning, a Boston shelter found 100% of residents had it with 0% symptoms.”

    From today’s comments
    Dr D: “Covered Boston in yesterday’s comment. (and too much more) So everybody has it now? It’s over?”

    From the news article (linked above)
    “The broad-scale testing took place at the shelter in Boston’s South End a week and a half ago because of a small cluster of cases there. Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.”

    100%, 37%, same difference?

    The way I read the news, there was a cluster of cases in the neighborhood of the homeless shelter, so 397 people at the shelter were tested, and 37% tested positive. None of which were symptomatic. Perhaps the symptomatic were already removed from the homeless shelter population? Perhaps diseases spread quicker in a communal living situation like a homeless shelter?


    Tried to edit my mess above but the dit function has decided to act up again.


    John Day

    The global-powers-that-be need to do things on their terms, on their timetable, with their agenda.
    An event, like Event 201 coronavirus pandemic, makes that controlled-financial-reset possible on a global scale.
    I think history will have it otherwise.
    The level of resource extraction to supply the elites and the current system is too high to sustain.
    That is the core problem forcing reset.
    We are seeing the failure of a complex system.
    The higher levels of complexity, which allow global control, are the ones that cost the most compared to systemic benefit. They are clearly wasteful and destructive, when graded by measures of pollution, ecology, human cost vs human benefit, inefficient use of limited resources, and so on.
    People’s minds do not stay still when their bodies sit still in their houses.
    People’s minds devise new paths out, when their bodies are frozen in place.
    Our minds are already squirmy like that.

    COVID-19 Is A Man-Made Virus: HIV-Discoverer Says “Could Only Have Been Created In A Lab”
    GilmoreHealth.com’s Robert Miller writes that contrary to the narrative that is being pushed by the mainstream that the COVID 19 virus was the result of a natural mutation and that it was transmitted to humans from bats via pangolins, Dr Luc Montagnier the man who discovered the HIV virus back in 1983 disagrees and is saying that the virus was man made.

    If you look at the mutation-family graph, the first, and very longest jump, which would actually be far off the page, if proportional, is from bat to first human.
    When questioned, the researcher says, “If I am pressed for an answer, I would say the original spread started more likely in southern China than in Wuhan.”
    It’s not a question the study is designed to answer, but to not answer.
    (The question of viral origin is answered by genetic sequence analysis: “LAB”.)
    Covid-19 outbreak started months EARLIER and NOT in Wuhan, ongoing Cambridge study indicates

    Navy Reports Alarming ‘Stealth Transmission’ Rate: 60% Of Infected Carrier Crew Symptom-Free
    This suggests the virus could be spreading more frequently by stealth mode in the broader population, with many more people than is known walking around walking around with the disease unawares.

    ​If I needed to get in to the shelter I would say I felt fine.
    ​ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now “actively looking into” results from universal COVID-19 testing at a Boston homeless shelter.
    The broad-scale testing took place at the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter in Boston’s South End a week and a half ago because of a small cluster of cases there.
    Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.

    ​ ​An analysis of the blood of some 3,300 people living in Santa Clara county in early April found that one in every 66 people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2. On the basis of that finding, the researchers estimate that between 48,000 and 82,000 of the county’s roughly 2 million inhabitants were infected with​​ the virus at that time — numbers that contrast sharply with the official case count of some 1,000 people reported in early April …
    ​ News of the Santa Clara analysis follows preliminary results from a similar study in Germany, released on 9 April, that tested some 500 people in a village of more than 12,000 and found that one in seven had been infected with SARS-CoV-2. The German team also looked for active infections, using diagnostic tests based on the polymerase chain reaction, and when those figures were combined with those who had antibodies, estimate that the town’s overall infection rate was 15%.​..
    The Santa Clara team estimated an IFR for the county of 0.1–0.2%, which would equate to about 100 deaths in 48,000-82,000 infections. As of 10 April, the county’s official death count was 50 people..​.
    …​But with that ratio of false positives to true cases, a large number of the positive cases reported in the study — 50 out of 3320 tests — could be false positives, says Marm Kilpatrick, an infectious disease researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz.​ [That would not change the overall meaning of the study.]

    Figmund Sreud

    Historical take on plagues: by Escobar. Snip, first:

    With pervasive social distancing in place, the new border is each and everyone’s skin. Migrants and refugees were previously considered viruses, and only merited confinement and immobilization. But now these policies apply to whole populations. Detention centers – perpetual waiting rooms that abolish human rights and citizenship – are now detention centers inside one’s own home.

    … enchilada:

    The city in a time of plague
    History teaches us that epidemics are more like revelatory moments than social transformers

    The city in a time of plague



    Figmund Sreud

    Sandel poses a question in The New York Timely:

    Are We All in This Together?

    … again, a snip:

    In a pandemic, this question arises most urgently as a question about health care: Should medical care be accessible to all, regardless of their ability to pay? The Trump administration decided that the federal government would pay for coronavirus treatment for the uninsured. Whether it will be possible to reconcile the moral logic of this policy with the notion that health coverage in ordinary times should be left to the market remains to be seen.

    … link – I trust it opens free, … it did for me:

    The pandemic has helpfully scrambled how we value everyone’s economic and social roles.


    Figmund Sreud

    GRRR…, … link:


    “An event, like Event 201 coronavirus pandemic, makes that controlled-financial-reset possible on a global scale.I think history will have it otherwise.The level of resource extraction to supply the elites and the current system is too high to sustain. That is the core problem forcing reset.

    Nice work. John.

    D Benton Smith

    Everybody seems to be yearning for a return to normal (whatever that means) and I just can’t help but want to look them up close in the eye and ask, “Are you really SURE?”

    Easiest way to make people gratefully accept miserable conditions is to give them a taste of worse.

    D Benton Smith

    Hi Figmund,

    In response to the question “Are We All In This Together ?” we must first appreciate that it’s actually two questions : 1) are we all in this? and, 2) are we all together ?

    Here are my answers:

    Yes to #1, and apparently not to #2 (but it sure does have folks talking it over, don’t it ? . . . which is a good thing.)


    D Benton Smith: the world blesses you. God smiles on your shadow. The stars wink your way.

    Why? Because reading your remarks, I feel as if my work in this town is done, at least for awhile, and everyone can relax from the look of my text.

    How I Got Over

    D Benton Smith

    Dear Bos(s),
    Aw, shucks. And thank you again. I am genuinely happy to accept your appreciation but I hope that doesn’t deter you from holding my feet to the fire when I need it, which is pretty much always.

    Figmund Sreud

    D Benton Smith – Yes to #1, and apparently not to #2 (but it sure does have folks talking it over, don’t it ? . . . which is a good thing.)

    Agreed fully. Mind you, … #2 reminds me of lyrics content of Camp Grenada: … poison ivy, alligators, sissies, reading sessions, Malaria, Jeffery Hardy, man-eating bears in the woods, … RAIN, HAIL! “Take me home, oh Muddah, Faddah / Take me home, I hate Grenada” plead, …

    … than it stopped raining, stopped hailing!




    The original research at Stanford concludes “a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April”. “As of Friday, it officially had recorded 1,833 cases and 69 deaths related to coronavirus.”
    I calculate an infection fatality rate of 0.14%, assuming 48K infections. The CDC Flu fatality rate is 0.14% (61K/45M).
    Once infected, the fatality outcome is not different between this CCP virus and the flu. It’s just our infection opportunity with the CCP Virus is so much greater.
    And yes, because it’s more infectious, the hospitals might overflow. And yes, the symptoms are different, and deaths are ghastly, I expect the flu is not pretty, either.
    Individual freedom, personal responsibility.
    I think the proper response would have been to cancel very large public events, and reserved those places for patient overflow. Our Military reservists might be well utilized to staff those places, along with volunteers from the industry or the public (if trained in advance like we do with CPR).
    No lock down, just short term travel bans while infection disparities are more than two orders of magnitude, then traveling resumes within one order of magnitude.
    We shot ourselves in the foot. It’s time to lift the lock down. Now, before more damage is done.
    p.s. Extinction Events. Collapse perhaps, but tough for quick acting diseases to get to place like Pitcairn.

    Dr. D

    What? I feel like I’m in a timehole. Correct me: I stand corrected. I had the same thought: is this something about the neighborhood or being out in the streets? Point was the same, so 37% already have it?

    Dr Luc Montagnier. He’s a scientist. But we don’t believe scientists, we believe scientists. Therefore, he’s crazy. Until tomorrow, when we believe scientists. The scientist from the U.N., (weapons treaty) that said it’s engineered, not the scientist from the U.N. (WHO) that says it isn’t. Science! Believe me, it’s settled!

    “will be possible to reconcile the moral logic?”

    It’s always possible to do things in an emergency you couldn’t/wouldn’t do every day. Everybody understands that. One reason it, if it’s “special”, it doesn’t alter long-term behavior, like never exercising or working again.


    My main problem is that we have absolutely no idea how serious this illness actually is.

    The ‘confirmed’ cases seem to be almost exclusively those who need hospital treatment. Those who have symptoms that do not require hospital treatment are excluded. Also it does seem there are a large number of people who have no symptoms, the lowest estimate seems to be 30% but it could be twice that.

    The use of antibody tests, like the Stanford study, should be replicated in all countries to check what the situation actually is. It may be the most sensible policy is for those with a high morbidity risk should self isolate but the rest of the economy should continue as normal.

    The lockdown policy is massively damaging and should only be used if truly justified. It seems that warm weather is unlikely to slow down infections, nor does having the disease guarantee immunity, so i could be lockdown forever with current thinking.

    My second problem is that there seems to be some effective cures based around hydroxychloroquine.

    I have seen no evidence that these are being officially tried in any country! Considering the alternative can be death it does seem surprising.

    D Benton Smith

    Dear similarly afflicted,

    When the math gets tough the tough get calculators.

    I am forced to concede that Computer modeling has it’s place ( might I suggest a septic tank ?). Seriously, computer modeling is too easily manipulated to suit one’s wants and cannot be trusted when the stakes are this high ( too many conflicting wants).

    Arithmetic, on the other hand, has stood the test of time and won’t try to change your mind about anything, only inform it.

    So I ran the numbers the old fashioned way, using the murky (understatement) “Fog Of War” numbers being thrown hither and yon by indistinguishable saints and sinners since 6 weeks ago and now.

    High ball, low ball, no balls at all. Run ’em all says I. (why not? all I’ve got is time these days)

    Here is what the numbers said (ice blooded little sociopaths ):

    Within all ranges of presently hypothesized numbers describing infection rate, lethality rate, doubling rate, proportion of non symptomatic carriers and effects of mitigation, the bottom line(s) was conclusive and stark.

    If lock-downs (such as they were) had not been done, and the Wuhan virus ranged free, there would have resulted a minimum of one hundred million virtually simultaneous human deaths around the middle of May. Way more probably half a billion. Silent Spring indeed. There’s nothing to compare that to in human history. I’m unable to construct any scenario in which technological civilization continued. Anywhere.

    Nuclear power plants and weapons require skilled maintenance ( i.e. a functional civilization) to avoid cataclysmic failure. There are 450 nuke plants and 4,000 bombs. How many failures equals an extinction level event ?

    So, yeah, I’ld have to say that was a quite a bullet we just ducked.

    Please keep these facts in mind when ragging on the totally weird combination of good guys/bad guys/whothehellknows guys who just prevented our extinction.

    Nor the folks who nearly caused it in the first place.


    ROast feet are considered a delicacy by some, DB SMith but I decline.

    I’ll leave this because it’s way userful, imo.

    Ethan Siegel

    Doc Robinson

    Kimo:  “The original research at Stanford concludes “a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April”. “As of Friday, it officially had recorded 1,833 cases and 69 deaths related to coronavirus.” I calculate an infection fatality rate of 0.14%, assuming 48K infections. The CDC Flu fatality rate is 0.14% (61K/45M). Once infected, the fatality outcome is not different between this CCP virus and the flu.

    That is a false equivalence. The Stanford numbers (48,000 to 81,000) include the asymptomatic (in a representative sample of the population), while the CDC data only includes the symptomatic. If the CDC included the asymptomatic cases, then the flu fatality rate would be less than 0.14%, possibly much less.

    Here’s how the CDC’s 0.14% number can be calculated:

    Estimated influenza disease burden — United States, 2017-2018 influenza season
    A. Symptomatic Illnesses Estimate 44,802,629
    B. Deaths Estimate 61,099
    C. Case Fatality Rate = B/A = 0.14%

    From Table 1


    If lock-downs (such as they were) had not been done, and the Wuhan virus ranged free, there would have resulted a minimum of one hundred million virtually simultaneous human deaths around the middle of May. Way more probably half a billion. Silent Spring indeed. There’s nothing to compare that to in human history. I’m unable to construct any scenario in which technological civilization continued. Anywhere.

    I hope you’re being facetious here. If not, you’re calculating as if transmission were simultaneous and instanteous. In which case, may I respectfully suggest you revert to your day job. As woeful as many of the predictive models have been in terms of accuracy, they do structure in a time-delayed rate of transmission.

    D Benton Smith

    Right , Bos(s)

    He’s already on my short list of who’s worth listening to in fizzix. Here’s my rule : if they’re way smarter than me I’ll listen, if they are also right I will learn from them, and if . . . on top of all that . . . they ALSO poke the ‘closed club academy’ in the eye then they are worth listening to.


    Doc Robinson
    Genuine question – are there assumed to be no asymptomatic cases of seasonal flu? Or perhaps CDC does not calculate them as they asymptomatic cases have no material affect (ie no burden on healthcare systems etc)?
    If seasonal flu can be asymptomatic then comparing case fatality rates (Covid vs seasonal flu) is an apples-to-oranges data comparison.

    Doc Robinson

    anticlimactic: …it does seem there are a large number of people who have no symptoms, the lowest estimate seems to be 30% but it could be twice that.

    30-60% asymptomatic? It seems to be a lot lower than that, for the general population. The results of the Stanford study (for Santa Clara County) concluded that “the population prevalence of COVID-19” ranged from 2.49% to 4.16%, including the asymptomatic.


    Doc Robinson

    Huskynut: “If seasonal flu can be asymptomatic then comparing case fatality rates (Covid vs seasonal flu) is an apples-to-oranges data comparison.”

    Yes, seasonal flu can be asymptomatic.

    The fraction of influenza virus infections that are asymptomatic: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Doc Robinson

    Dr D: “so 37% already have it?”

    Researchers looked at a homeless shelter within a COVID-19 hotspot in Boston, and came up with 37% of the population there having it (in the homeless shelter).

    Researchers looked at Santa Clara County in California and came up with about 2% to 4% of the population there having it (in the entire county).


    Meanwhile, today in NZ we trepiditiously anticipate the ascension of our Glorious Leader upon her elevated Pulpit of Pronouncement, to decree our ongoing State of Lockdown.

    The NZ government’s official website (https://covid19.govt.nz) contains a few links to their health modelling but absolutely nothing around the economic modelling or concrete decision-making (as opposed to subjective “eliminate the virus”) hype.

    The contrarian group Plan-B’s website by contrast (http://www.covidplanb.co.nz) is succinct and factual, making their argument and nothing more. (and it was put together with a tiny fraction of the resources available to the State).

    Based solely on the quality of information and rational thinking, I’d far sooner have the latter group in charge of the decision making, regardless of the correctness of their argument.

    Isn’t it interesting how lazy governments are, purely based on their monopoly over the levers of control.



    Russia Russia Russia

    Back then we were brain washed to be afraid of Russia.

    Funny, after serving my 6 month sentance in a Siberian coal mine in 1983, seeing that they had guns but no butter, I left being no longer afraid of the Russian bear!


    With all of the wall to wall news coverage of the coronavirus, nobody covers what it is like to get a milder case of the coronavirus, no requiring hospitalization, and the length of time it takes to recover.

    That is a pretty big gapping hole!

    The few comments I have seen suggest that recovery can be long and exhausting. Many face recoveries in months not weeks.

    Recoveries consists of recurring bouts of illnesses that seem to come in waves. One minute you feel like you are recovering, only to then be hit by another wave. Exhaustion and lack of energy is commonly mentioned.

    That would help explain the lagging recovery statics.


    Doc Robinson,
    Thank you for the correction, I confused illness with infection, overlooking asymptomatic flu. I speculate, between Covid19 and the Flu infection fatality rates are still within an order of magnitude. Regardless, the policy adjustments I proposed are sound for responsible adults, IMHO. They are considerable less constrictive for those at low death risk, and no contact with those of high risk. My Dad turned 100 this month, and he is locked down tight. It is his choice, and mine, in spite of the unhappy consequence of no in-person celebration.

    D Benton Smith


    The doubling rate automatically factors in a time consuming process of transmission . . . even if you can’t be sure how much time that transmission takes, or how transmission occurs. In the final analysis it doesn’t matter much. The things one needs to know are not that hard to identify or calculate. How fast is it doubling? How many people will eventually become infected? What percentage of of that number will die? How long will the process take? My numbers pencil out within specs, and I will keep my old job (even though I have retired first) because being right all the time is not just an annoying pastime , it’s lucrative.

    By the way, the math error you’re making is very common because it’s so non-intuitive to non numberphiles. It’s described in formulas called Baye’s Theorem and boils down to this : in sequential calculations it is imperative that your operations begin with the true first statement in the series. In other words, make sure you’re starting at the real beginning with the correct values, which are frequently not at all obvious or intuitive.

    All calculations done after the start of mitigation efforts must take the numerical effects of that mitigation into account (and remove those effects) before proceeding with the remaining series of calculations in order.

    Humankind just felt the cold breath of extinction on its neck, so folks can be forgiven if they now choose to whistle past the open graveyard still awaiting them if they fuck up now. Your calculations, doubtlessly, are not factoring in how mitigation has changed, and will go on changing, all of the pertinent numbers. Therefore your algorithm returns to you garbage answers based on what did or might happen with some sort of mitigation already baked into the cake. My calculation reveals what happens if they don’t.

    In conclusion : This virus is still perfectly capable of wiping us out should we fail to understand the fact that , with no mitigating actions against it , this virus simply DOES double every 4 to 5 days (mitigation slows it down, obviously) . And it kills a fuzzily estimated percentage of everyone it infects. What percentage is that ? Well, without state of the art medical treatment that death rate easily changes from a Chinese 2.3 % to an Italian 7.2% . No one has the guts to estimate what the % becomes with ZERO medical treatment. 10% ? More? I sure don’t want to find out.

    In any case , even the silly optimist ONE percent comes to between 50 million and 500 million during a single 3-4 week long period starting 2 to 3 weeks after the last 2 doublings . Based on a world population of 7.5 billion relatively healthy souls, the final doubling would end in late April or early May, infecting 3 or 4 Billion people. A percentage of those billions all die in the same 2 week period 2 or 3 week later. No complex system survives such an event. It breaks. And that breakage has it’s own ‘knock-on’ domino sorts of lethal consequence like typhoid, cholera and nuclear pile meltdown from inadequately attended atomic fission reactors.

    Show me a math geek who isn’t sweating bullets and I’ll show you a drug user.

    I do not respond well to snark and non-logical strategies for “winning” arguments. No one wins arguments.



    Congratulations on having a Father who has reached a century!

    You are the first that I know of.

    Some folks have Mother’s that reach 100 but few Have Fathers.

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