Apr 292020

Gottscho-Schleisner Fulton Market pier, view to Manhattan over East River, NY April 20 1934


9 in 10 Americans Fear Economy Will Collapse During Coronavirus Shutdowns (WE)
50 Million Americans Have Lost Their Job In Past 6 Weeks (ZH)
China Could Have 50x More Coronavirus Cases Than Claimed – US Official (Fox)
China Embassy Accuses Australia Of ‘Petty Tricks’ In Coronavirus Dispute (R.)
A Fifth To Half Of All Coronavirus Deaths Have Been In Nursing Homes (JTN)
Experimental Trial Of Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha Nasal Drops (medRxiv)
Patients Who Survive COVID19 May Suffer Lasting Lung Damage (ScienceN)
More Than 100 Experts Call For ‘Aggressive Action Against COVID-19’ (Wsls)
Lithuanian Capital To Be Turned Into Vast Open-Air Cafe (G.)
Thousands Of British Workers Will Need To Gather The Harvest (R.)
Can Macy’s Get Through this Crisis and Stay Relevant? (WS)
Merkel Wants Green Recovery From Coronavirus Crisis (R.)
Trump Wants All US Troops Out Of Afghanistan Now Due To Coronavirus (ZH)
Amazon, Walmart Essential Workers Plan Unprecedented Strike (IC)
Boeing 737 MAX Expected To Remain Grounded Until At Least August (R.)
Steele Had Undisclosed Meetings With Lawyers For DNC, Clinton Campaign (DC)



People start blaming the economic damage on the lockdowns. Like such damage could have been prevented by letting the virus rule. Opinions differ.


• In a 24-hour period to 8:30 pm (0030 GMT), there were 2,207 additional US deaths, Johns Hopkins University says, after the daily deaths had fallen to around 1,300 on Sunday and Monday.
– 55,000 Americans died in the past month.

• The UK is:
– 5th in the world for coronavirus deaths
– 58th in the world for coronavirus tests conducted per million people



Numbers “temper” a little, but not by much. And there are some new kids on the block: Peru, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Singapore(!), Bangladesh and more.


Cases 3,149,233 (+ 69,132 from yesterday’s 3,080,101)

Deaths 218,385 (+ 6,120 from yesterday’s 212,265)




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



From Worldometer – Among Closed Cases, Deaths have fallen to 18%



From SCMP: Note: SCMP has a new layout for its tracker.



From COVID19Info.live: Note: watch Peru, it’s rising fast.





That’s settled then.

9 in 10 Americans Fear Economy Will Collapse During Coronavirus Shutdowns (WE)

A large portion of the country is concerned about the economy collapsing amid restrictions placed on businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a Tuesday poll from Axios/Ipsos, 89% of both Republicans and Democrats have some concern that the coronavirus may trigger an economic collapse. The U.S. economy has already suffered some significant blows, including 26 million new jobless claims since the pandemic first hit the country. While the Trump administration has predicted that the economy will recover quickly, senior economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Sunday that this is the worst hit the economy has taken since the Great Depression.

“During the Great Recession, remember that was the financial crisis around 2008 that we lost 8.7 million jobs in the whole thing. Right now, we’re losing that many jobs about every 10 days. And so, the economic lift for policymakers is an extraordinary one,” Hassett said. The federal government worked to inject money into the economy by giving most adults a stimulus check of up to $1,200 for an individual and $500 for dependents. According to the poll, 38% put the check into savings, 26% used it to pay off debt, and 18% planned to spend it but hadn’t yet. The patterns show that much of the stimulus funding was not spent on new purchases from businesses.

Republicans and Democrats were on the same page when it came to their concern of economic ruin, but they differed greatly on their fears about reopening the economy too soon. 88% of Democrats feared opening the economy too soon, while only 56% of Republicans felt the same way.

Read more …

Wait. That means they don’t get anything from the payroll schemes, right?

50 Million Americans Have Lost Their Job In Past 6 Weeks (ZH)

When Thursday’s initial claims report is published at 830am on Thursday, the Dept of Labor will confirm that the current depression is unlike any seen before, with approximately 30 million Americans losing their jobs in the past 6 weeks alone. That, however, may be underestimating the full number of Americans who have lost their jobs by as much as 50%. According to an online poll by the left-wing Economic Policy Institute, millions of Americans who have been thrown out of work during the coronavirus pandemic have been unable to register for unemployment benefits. The poll found that for every 10 people who have successfully filed unemployment claims, three or four people have been unable to register and another two people have not tried to apply at a time of acute economic crisis.

Official statistics show that 26.5 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March, wiping out all of the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in U.S. history, and another 3.5 million initial claims are expected to be filed this week. However, EPI’s survey indicates that an additional 8.9 million to 13.9 million people have been shut out of the system, said Ben Zipperer, the study’s lead author, which means that as of this week, just shy of 50 million American have lost their job since the start of March. “This study validates the anecdotes and news reports we’re seeing about people having trouble filing for benefits they need and deserve,” Zipperer said.

Among the reasons why idled workers have been unable to get in the “pipeline”, they claim they have encountered downed websites and clogged phone lines, as the state governments that administer the program have been overwhelmed by applicants. “It’s a shame how you work for so many years and then when you need it, you can’t get it,” said Jim Hewes, 48, who said he was unable to file a claim online for more than two weeks after he was furloughed from his job at an Orlando, Florida, second-hand store in March. Hewes said he mailed off a paper application on April 9 but had not heard back from the state.

Read more …

Mass incineration.

China Could Have 50x More Coronavirus Cases Than Claimed – US Official (Fox)

As the international community, including Chinese citizens, raises questions about the Chinese government’s tally of coronavirus cases and the communist nation’s mortality rate, new details are emerging about just how far off official government calculations have likely been, Fox News has learned. Last week, the People’s Republic of China increased their official count of fatalities inside Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, by 50 percent in just one day, increasing the overall tally by 1,290 people. Now, a Trump administration official tells Fox News they estimate the PRC has miscalculated and underreported the true tally nationwide by at least a factor of 50. “PRC numbers as reported today seem to be arithmetically impossible,” the official said.

“Again, we don’t know the real numbers today, but we do know the about 80,000 infections and 4,000 deaths as reported by the Chinese Communist Party propaganda are not even remotely close,” the person added. Intelligence sources, asked about recent reports of funeral homes in Wuhan becoming overwhelmed by the volume of new corpses and plagued by a shortage of urns to hold virus victims’ remains, declined to confirm the existence of classified satellite images. They did affirm, however, that the reporting is within the realm of possibility based on the evidentiary record. In support of this claim, officials point to the existence of seven funeral homes inside Wuhan city with a total incineration capacity of about 2,000 corpses per day. They also flag recent reporting that incinerators have been in near-constant use for 24 hours per day over the past several weeks. They note that, at this rate, the city’s incineration capacity nears 60,000 corpses per month.

Read more …

Australia is just “.. chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes..”

China Embassy Accuses Australia Of ‘Petty Tricks’ In Coronavirus Dispute (R.)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his proposed inquiry into how the coronavirus developed and spread would not be targeted at China but was needed given COVID-19 had killed more than 200,000 people and shut down much of the global economy. “Now, it would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again,” he said. Australian government ministers have repeatedly said China, the country’s largest trade partner, was threatening “economic coercion” after its ambassador, Cheng Jingye, said this week that Chinese consumers could boycott Australian products and universities because of the calls for the inquiry.

The head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) called Cheng to express concern. The Chinese embassy then released a statement detailing what it said was discussed on the call, prompting another rebuke from DFAT. On Wednesday, the Chinese embassy returned fire, saying on its website that details of the call had first been “obviously leaked by some Australian officials” and it needed to set the record straight. “The Embassy of China doesn’t play petty tricks, this is not our tradition. But if others do, we have to reciprocate,” an embassy spokesman said in the statement. Chinese state media has fiercely rounded on Morrison, with Australian studies scholar Chen Hong writing in the Global Times tabloid on Wednesday that Australia was “spearheading” a “malicious campaign to frame and incriminate China”.

And Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the paper which is affiliated to the Beijing-controlled People’s Daily newspaper, said on Chinese social media that Australia was always making trouble. “It is a bit like chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes. Sometimes you have to find a stone to rub it off,” Hu wrote. New Zealand, which also has China as its largest trading partner, on Wednesday sided with neighbouring Australia in supporting an inquiry into the pandemic. “It’s very hard to conceive of there not being a desire by every country in world, including the country of origin, for an investigation to find out how this happened,” Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said.

Read more …

What are the odds of every single country on the western face of the earth getting this so horribly wrong? And yet, they did.

A Fifth To Half Of All Coronavirus Deaths Have Been In Nursing Homes (JTN)

A few days ago the World Health Organization’s European regional director garnered global headlines by providing a grim statistic that pinpoints the ground zero in this coronavirus pandemic. More than half of the COVID-19 deaths in Europe have occurred in long-term care or nursing home facilities. It is “an unimaginable human tragedy,” Dr. Hans Kluge declared. Europe is not alone. At least one in five deaths recorded in the United States so far has occurred in nursing homes or long-term care facilities and experts believe that percentage may grow substantially. The Kaiser Family Foundation, one of the leading health nonprofits in America, reported late last week that 27 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the 23 states that report fatalities publicly by location have occurred in nursing homes and long-term facilities.

In six of those states — Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Utah — the percentage of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes was over 50 percent of total deaths, the foundation reported. “The individuals that reside in long-term care facilities are among the most vulnerable in the US to this virus, given occupation density of these facilities and residents’ underlying poor health,” Kaiser warned. The disproportionate death toll in long-term care facilities is shining a painful light both on how poorly prepared these facilities were for a lethal outbreak and how the drastic measures since taken to stem the tide — including a ban on family visits — are creating isolation in the final days of victims’ lives. “They are no longer getting their emotional and physical support that such visits provide,” Kluge said. “Sometimes residents face the threat of abuse and neglect.”

Dr. Max Arella, a Quebec-based virologist and molecular biologist studying coronavirus for decades, told Just the News that in Canada some nursing homes have had 40% or more of their residents infected. “From the start everyone was responding as if this were a normal influenza virus and with the aging population and underlying conditions whether it is diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer patients it is hard to practice social distancing,” he said. “Everyone failed from the start. The Chinese and the World Health Organization failed and even at the international, regional and national levels leaders failed,” he said. ”There are sometimes two or more people in one room so if a healthcare provider goes from bed to bed or the patients play cards the virus spreads. Not recognizing what this was and responding early was a major issue.”

Read more …

Promising. Nasal drops.

Experimental Trial Of Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha Nasal Drops (medRxiv)

Objective To investigate the efficacy and safety of recombinant human interferon alpha1b (rhIFN-α) nasal drops in healthy medical staff to prevent 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Methods A prospective, open-label study was conducted. Starting January 21, 2020, at Taihe Hospital in Shiyan City, Hubei Province, 2944 medical staff members were recruited and allocated into a low-risk group or a high-risk group according to whether they were directly exposed to the coronavirus.

Participants in the low-risk group received rhIFN-α nasal drops (2-3 drops/nostril/time, 4 times/day) for 28 days; those in the high-risk group received rhIFN-α nasal drops combined with thymosin-α1 (1.6 mg, hypodermic injection, once a week). The primary outcome was new-onset COVID-19 over 28 days. The secondary outcome was new-onset fever or respiratory symptoms but with negative pulmonary images.

The results were compared with the number of new cases in medical staff in the same areas of Hubei Province (including Wuhan) during the same period. Adverse reactions to interferon nasal drops were also observed.

Results Among the 2944 subjects in our study, 2415 were included in the low-risk group, including 997 doctors and 1418 nurses with average ages of 37.38 and 33.56 years, respectively; 529 were included in the high-risk group, including 122 doctors and 407 nurses with average ages of 35.24 and 32.16 years, respectively.

The 28-day incidence of COVID-19 was zero in both the high- and low-risk groups. The 28-day incidence of new-onset clinical symptoms with negative images for pneumonia was also zero in both the high- and low-risk groups. As controls, a total of 2035 medical personnel with confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia from the same area (Hubei Province) was observed between January 21 to February 23, 2020. There were no serious adverse effects in the 2944 subjects treated during the intervention period.

Conclusion In this investigator-initiated open-label study, we observed that rhIFN-α nasal drops can effectively prevent COVID-19 in treated medical personnel. Our results also indicate that rhIFN-α nasal drops have potential promise for protecting susceptible healthy people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more …

Don’t think it’s only the lungs that are at risk.

Patients Who Survive COVID19 May Suffer Lasting Lung Damage (ScienceN)

Among patients who have recovered from COVID-19 in China comes the first evidence that some may suffer long-term lung damage from the disease. In 70 patients who survived COVID-19 pneumonia, 66 had some level of lung damage visible in CT scans taken before hospital discharge, researchers report March 19 in Radiology. The damage ranged from dense clumps of hardened tissue blocking blood vessels within the tiny air sacs called alveoli, which absorb oxygen, to tissue lesions around the alveoli, Yuhui Wang, a radiologist at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, and colleagues found. The tissue lesions can be a sign of chronic lung disease. Similar damage has been documented in survivors of SARS and MERS, respiratory diseases caused by coronaviruses similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID-19.

Long-term studies of SARS patients have shown that roughly a third of people who recovered from severe bouts were left with permanent lung damage. In the case of MERS, one study found about a third of people who recovered from a serious infection still had signs of lung damage about seven months later. But while initial lung images indicate that SARS and MARS typically set into just one lung, COVID-19 appears to be more likely to afflict both lungs right away. In 75 of the 90 patients admitted to Huazhong University Hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia from January 16 to February 17, damage was seen across both lungs, Wang and colleagues report. CT scans taken before hospital discharge revealed that 42 out of 70 patients displayed the type of lesions around the alveoli that are more likely to develop into scars.

Read more …

Not a great headline.

Yaneer Bar-Yam is the president of the New England Complex System Institute and a co-writer with Taleb. His motto is “Crush the Curve”, not flatten it.

“Rather than kind of doing sort of the least effort that kind of will slow it down, do the most effort and get it to stop and you’re done”

More Than 100 Experts Call For ‘Aggressive Action Against COVID-19’ (Wsls)

Scientists, healthcare professionals, policy experts, business owners, and concerned citizens are calling upon Gov. Ralph Northam to be far stricter to eliminate the coronavirus in Virginia. The group, organized by EndCoronavirus.org, is asking for the governor to take seven “low-cost, high-impact actions to zero out COVID-19 in Virginia”:
• Empower local governments
• Maximize social distancing
• Require mask usage
• Deploy approaches that have worked elsewhere to scale up testing
• Leverage volunteers to cheaply scale up contact tracing
• Convert unused college dormitories into voluntary isolation facilities
• Implement “safe travel” rules to prevent importation of new cases

Yaneer Bar-Yam led the charge in crafting this plan, after he said Virginians asked for his expertise to find the best way to combat COVID-19. “It’s the opportunity to go back to normal that everybody wants,” Bar-Yam said. “We’re kind of operating now at kind of the edge of, ‘Is it going to go up? Is it going to be flat? Is it going to go down?’ Why should we do it in that way?” Bar-Yam said this plan is about stopping the spread altogether instead of just slowing it. “Rather than kind of doing sort of the least effort that kind of will slow it down, do the most effort and get it to stop and you’re done,” Bar-Yam said.

More than 200 people have signed the letter, explaining those seven points in greater detail. Among the signers of the letter are faculty members at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. “We have the chance to decrease the suffering and death of so many people,” said Felicia Etzkorn, chemistry professor at Virginia Tech.

Read more …

You can try, but do be careful. How is a waitress going to serve you?

Lithuanian Capital To Be Turned Into Vast Open-Air Cafe (G.)

Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, has announced plans to turn the city into a vast open-air cafe by giving over much of its public space to hard-hit bar and restaurant owners so they can put their tables outdoors and still observe physical distancing rules. The Baltic state, which has recorded 1,344 cases of the coronavirus and 44 deaths, allowed cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating, hairdressers and almost all shops to begin reopening this week as part of a staged exit from lockdown. But the health ministry has imposed strict physical distancing rules and safety measures. Shops must limit the number of customers at one time, masks will remain mandatory in all public spaces, and cafe and restaurant tables have to be placed at least two metres apart.

That posed a problem for many restaurateurs in Vilnius old town, Senamiestis, a Unesco-listed world heritage site whose narrow streets make it almost impossible to place more than a couple of tables outside – prompting the mayor’s offer. “Plazas, squares, streets – nearby cafes will be allowed to set up outdoor tables free of charge this season and thus conduct their activities during quarantine,” said Remigijus Simasius. Public safety remained the city’s top priority, the mayor said, but the measure should help cafes to “open up, work, retain jobs and keep Vilnius alive”. Eighteen of the city’s public spaces, including its central Cathedral Square, have been opened up for outdoor cafes and restaurants, city hall said, and more are expected to be added as the summer progresses. The move has been welcomed by owners, with more than 160 applying to take up the offer.

Read more …

Let the politicians go first.

Thousands Of British Workers Will Need To Gather The Harvest (R.)

Thousands of British workers will need to help gather the harvest as seasonal workers from other parts of Europe are unable to travel due to the coronavirus lockdown, the environment minister said on Wednesday. British Environment Secretary George Eustice said that in a normal year around 30,000 people come from mainly the European Union to do seasonal agricultural work, though only a third are here now. “We will need a significant number of British people, in particular those who have been furloughed they have the chance if they want,” Eustice told BBC radio. “We are getting huge interest from people wanting to do this,” he said. “We need tens of thousands of people to do this work.” The peak comes at the end of May and during June, he said.

Read more …

“Macy’s has been living off its real estate portfolio of “owned boxes” for years by selling them.”

Can Macy’s Get Through this Crisis and Stay Relevant? (WS)

Macy’s, the largest surviving department store in the US, and still clinging by its fingernails to the last rung of the top 10 ecommerce retailers in the US, down from 7th place in 2019, may never reopen many of its stores that it hadn’t already decided to shutter before the crisis. In 2019, 26% of its $24.5 billion in sales were online sales, up from 23% a year earlier, according to its 10-K filing with the SEC. In the second quarter (February through April), as all its stores were closed on March 18, the percentage of digital sales to total sales will surge. But it won’t be enough. Investors have lost faith, demonstrated amply by the crash of its 7.0% senior unsecured 30-year bond due in February 2028. The bonds have been in deeply distressed territory since mid-March. Since February 14, they have collapsed by 53%, to a new low on Tuesday of 54.1 cents on the dollar, giving them a yield of 18.6% (chart via Finra-Morningstar):

Macy’s is not out of cash. At the end of its fiscal year on February 1, it had $685 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand. On March 20, it said that it drew its entire credit line of $1.5 billion as “proactive measure.” So that would be close to a total of $2.2 billion in cash. But part of the cash has already been burned. The bond market believes that there is a decent chance these $2.2 billion and whatever else Macy’s may be able to pull out of its hat – more on that in a moment – will get it through the first part of 2021 without filing for bankruptcy. [..] To stay out of bankruptcy court, Macy’s is now trying to pull a big rabbit out of the hat: borrow up to $5 billion, secured by stores it owns and by merchandise, sources told CNBC and Bloomberg last week.

The sources said that $3 billion of the debt could be backed by inventories as collateral. And that $1 billion to $2 billion could be backed by real estate. Macy’s owns 342 of 775 stores it still operated as of February 1. None of these “owned boxes,” as it calls them, were encumbered by a mortgage, it said in its 10-K. It also owns some other properties. For years already, Macy’s has been “monetizing,” as it calls it, this real estate portfolio through the sale of properties.

Read more …

Merkel doesn’t understand how energy links to the economy: “..a higher cash incentive for buying electric cars..” is the very opposite of what the situation calls for. Try fewer cars first.

Merkel Wants Green Recovery From Coronavirus Crisis (R.)

Governments should focus on climate protection when considering fiscal stimulus packages to support an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday. Her comments are the clearest sign yet that Merkel wants to combine the task of helping companies recover from the pandemic with the challenge of setting more incentives for reducing carbon emissions. Speaking at a virtual climate summit known as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Merkel said she expected difficult discussions about how to design post-crisis stimulus measures and about which business sectors need more help than others.

“It will be all the more important that if we set up economic stimulus programmes, we must always keep a close eye on climate protection,” Merkel said, adding the focus should be laid on supporting modern technologies and renewable energies. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the conference there could be an opportunity for the world in the “dark times” of the coronavirus crisis. “The restart can lead to a healthier and more resilient world for everyone,” he said. Merkel said governments should pull in private-sector money through international financial markets to finance the costly shift towards a more climate-friendly economy. Proposals discussed by senior members of Merkel’s ruling coalition for a post-coronavirus stimulus package include a higher cash incentive for buying electric cars.

Read more …

Cue protest from both sides of the aisle.

Trump Wants All US Troops Out Of Afghanistan Now Due To Coronavirus (ZH)

It appears the coronavirus pandemic may have provided the leverage President Trump needs to finally get all American troops out of the over eighteen-year quagmire in Afghanistan. A new report this week by NBC has cited multiple senior officials to say the president “complains almost daily” that the US still has troops in Afghanistan, and that they are at risk for the spread of coronavirus. According to NBC: “His renewed push to withdraw all of them has been spurred by the convergence of his concern that coronavirus poses a force protection issue for thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and his impatience with the halting progress of his peace deal with the Taliban, the officials said.”

The historic peace deal signed between the US and Taliban at the end of February was based on a roadmap that would see the complete withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country 14 months from the signing. It also called for a near-term massive US troop reduction to 8,600 within 135 days of signing – contingent on the Taliban’s fulfillment of its commitments under the agreement. Trump is not satisfied with the progress, and his generals appear divided on his recent increased verbalization to get out. But they apparently share his concerns over local outbreaks impacting troops stationed there: U.S. officials worry the virus could become rampant in Afghanistan, given its lack of health care and testing and its shared border with Iran, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Afghanistan is going to have a significant coronavirus issue,” a former senior U.S. official said. “It hasn’t really manifested yet but it will.” On the other hand they argue that should coronavirus be a driving reason to pullout of central Asia, then it makes the American military’s presence in places like hard-hit Italy even harder to defend. “They said the president’s military advisers have made the case to him that if the U.S. pulls troops out of Afghanistan because of the coronavirus, by that standard the Pentagon would also have to withdraw from places like Italy, which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, officials said,” according to the NBC report

Read more …

“All of a sudden, they’re deemed essential workers in a pandemic, giving them tremendous leverage and power if they organize collectively.”

Amazon, Walmart Essential Workers Plan Unprecedented Strike (IC)

An unprecedented coalition of workers from some of America’s largest companies will strike on Friday. Workers from Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and FedEx are slated to walk out on work, citing what they say is their employers’ record profits at the expense of workers’ health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic. The employees will call out sick or walk off the job during their lunch break, according to a press release set to be published by organizers on Wednesday. In some locations, rank-and-file union members will join workers outside their warehouses and storefronts to support the demonstrations.

“We are acting in conjunction with workers at Amazon, Target, Instacart and other companies for International Worker’s Day to show solidarity with other essential workers in our struggle for better protections and benefits in the pandemic,” said Daniel Steinbrook, a Whole Foods employee and strike organizer. The labor action comes as workers and organizers say Amazon, in particular, has not been forthcoming about the number of Covid-19 cases at its more than 175 fulfillment centers globally. Jana Jumpp, an Indiana Amazon employee, along with her small team of fellow Amazon workers, has over the last month tallied Covid-19 cases at Amazon warehouses in the U.S. According to Jumpp, there have been at least 500 coronavirus cases in at least 125 Amazon facilities.

[..] “These workers have been exploited so shamelessly for so long by these companies while performing incredibly important but largely invisible labor,” said Stephen Brier, a labor historian and professor at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. “All of a sudden, they’re deemed essential workers in a pandemic, giving them tremendous leverage and power if they organize collectively.” The workers coalition will unveil a set of demands. Among them are: compensation for all unpaid time off used since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in March; hazard pay or paid sick leave to be provided for the duration of the pandemic; protective equipment and all cleaning supplies to be provided at all times by the company; and a demand for full corporate transparency on the number of cases in facilities.

Read more …

Headline could easily have been from 6 months ago.

Two more and entirely new software issues. But yeah, hand them another $100 billion.

Boeing 737 MAX Expected To Remain Grounded Until At Least August (R.)

Boeing Co’s grounded 737 MAX jet is expected to remain grounded until at least August as the manufacturer continues to grapple with software issues, people briefed on the matter told Reuters. The largest planemaker has signaled it now hopes to win regulatory approval in August for the plane’s return to service, but that could be pushed backed until fall, the sources said, as timing for meeting milestones is uncertain. The best-selling airplane has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people. Boeing halted production in January and has 400 undelivered MAX planes in storage.

Southwest Airlines, the largest operator of 737 MAX airplanes worldwide, said Tuesday it was removing the MAX from its schedule through Oct. 30 based on Boeing’s “recent communication on the MAX return to service date.” Last week, Reuters reported that a key certification test flight had been delayed until late May at the earliest and reported in early April the company was dealing with two new software issues. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has repeatedly said it has no timetable for approving the plane’s return to the skies.

Boeing said on April 7 it needed to make two new software updates to the 737 MAX’s flight control computer. One issue involves hypothetical faults in the flight control microprocessor, which could potentially lead to a loss of control known as a runaway stabilizer. The other issue could lead to disengagement of the autopilot feature during final approach. Boeing said on April 7 it was working with Raytheon unit Collins Aerospace Systems on the software updates, but it remained unclear when Collins will complete work and how long it will take U.S. and other regulators to validate the fixes as they complete a software documentation audit.

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Matt Taibbi got a lot of flack on Twitter for quoting this from the Daily Caller. His reply: they’re the only ones reporting on it; I can only wish there were others.

Steele Had Undisclosed Meetings With Lawyers For DNC, Clinton Campaign (DC)

A lawyer representing the DNC and Clinton campaign provided Christopher Steele with information in 2016 regarding an alleged secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, the former spy told a British court last month. That now-debunked tip, from Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann, set off a chain of events that led to Steele publishing a Sept. 14, 2016 memo accusing the founders of the bank, Alfa Bank, of having “illicit” ties to Vladimir Putin, according to a court transcript obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. A week after Steele wrote that memo, he had another meeting with Sussmann’s colleague, Marc Elias, according to the transcript.

Steele disclosed the previously unreported meetings with Sussmann and Elias during testimony in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by the Alfa Bank founders, the transcript shows. Steele’s testimony about Sussmann and Elias provides insight into how deeply involved the two lawyers were in the Trump investigation, and suggests they helped shape Steele’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. [..] Elias, who served as general counsel for the Clinton campaign, hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to investigate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS in turn picked Steele, a former MI6 officer, in June 2016 to investigate Trump’s possible ties to Russia.

Steele would go on to produce 17 memos alleging that the Russian government had blackmail material on Trump, and that members of his campaign were conspiring with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. Many of Steele’s most explosive allegations have been debunked in the 40 months since BuzzFeed News published the dossier. A Justice Department inspector general’s report said that Steele’s primary source of information disputed many of the allegations in the dossier. The IG report also said that the FBI and U.S. intelligence community received evidence in 2017 that Russian intelligence operatives may have fed disinformation to Steele. The IG report also dealt a fatal blow to the Alfa Bank theory peddled by Sussmann.

Read more …


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Home Forums Debt Rattle April 29 2020

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    Gottscho-Schleisner Fulton Market pier, view to Manhattan over East River, NY April 20 1934   • 9 in 10 Americans Fear Economy Will Collapse Duri
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle April 29 2020]

    V. Arnold

    Gottscho-Schleisner Fulton Market pier, view to Manhattan over East River, NY April 20 1934

    Very cool photo of the pier; likely a schooner rigged sailing vessel…


    Ground Zero
    Patient Zero

    • A Fifth To Half Of All Coronavirus Deaths Have Been In Nursing Homes (JTN)

    “Everyone failed from the start. The Chinese and the World Health Organization failed and even at the international, regional and national levels leaders failed,”

    Every one is failing, by not finding out how the virus was able to jump to all the care homes around the world.

    A contaminated “flu shot” would achieve this ability to go to every care homes.

    Dr. D

    We believe science. We trust the doctors. Unless they’re California ER doctors with 5 million views. Then we delete them.

    According to themselves and their non-testing 1 in 300 people in the U.S. already had it. That’s not too shabby in immunity, except for how they now say it’s impossible to be immune. So obviously we have to continue the lockdown into the 2090’s. When we won’t have any immunity either, but will have 57 new Heinz varieties. At that rate, we’ll soon have infinite detention and zero immunity to anything. We can all have the joys of being Bubble Boy. Oh, and of course, never, never die. Everyone will live forever and we’ll win the new #WarOnDeathItself. Yup indeedie doodlie.

    Meanwhile, without any of their actions, cases dropped in Bronx way back on the 11th and have stayed down. That ER doctor isn’t being reported because he says in this low-income, vital-worker area, the stop happened despite quarantine, not because of it. You know, like we see all over the planet. Switzerland is today’s example. What? The media didn’t tell you we’re 18 days past the peak already? Wow, how odd they wouldn’t report that. Several hundred death certificates had to be reversed in Pennsylvania, cutting the deaths in half because the coroners rioted (for them). So people like a man with double gunshot wounds and a baby who was smothered won’t be Covid cases anymore. Don’t worry: it will never be reported.

    Super-rich made $282B or $10,800 per unemployed person. It takes the government to make this happen.

    Government shutdowns, government bailouts. Hey, why’s that income disparity so high? Every time they help it gets higher. Can’t figure it out.

    “Wait. That means they don’t get anything from the payroll schemes, right?”

    Correct. But that means they make something like $25k/year instead, perhaps doubling their pay. Also there are no rules on the payroll thing, so no one know if they’re eligible, what the rules are, and if it’s a grant or a loan. Any corporate lawyer would shoot you if you signed it: you have unlimited risk and no visibility. Like HAMP, that evicted many thousands from their homes. Oops! Did I win again? Nice house you got here. Shame if it should end up in my pockets.

    Rather than kind of doing sort of the least effort that kind of will slow it down, do the most effort and get it to stop and you’re done”

    He’s obviously never met human beings before. How are you going to make them? How are you going to make them when you can’t arrest and jail them? Is making them not going to kill more of them? Cool story, bro’. Nobody’s listening. You’re already at maximum cooperation and dropping fast. Point?

    “• Empower local governments
    • Maximize social distancing
    • Require mask usage”

    Empower them to do what? Arrest people? Flap their gums? Take money they don’t have? Hahahahahahahaha. “Enforce distancing” how? “Require” how? You can’t even stop being from shooting heroin and stabbing each other. Hahahahahaha.

    Conditions for PHASE 1 reopening:
    + Mandatory masks in public
    + Tests
    + No superspreaders: subways, urologists conferences, etc.
    + Monitoring of passengers
    + Economists & psychologists stay locked-up at in permanent quarantine.
    Basically what we should have done in late January.” — Taleb

    Except we had:
    a) no masks
    b) no tests
    c) no way to monitor as we have:
    d) no symptoms
    And we still have none of those things. We also have no magic moonbeams. I tell you Taleb is losing his mind.

    Schmarty-answer? “Well I TOLD them, so…” Uh-huh. So your very-smart words makes tests and masks and food appear? Tell me again how smart you are.

    Thousands of British Workers Will Need to Gather the Harvest (R.)”

    Sounds like they’ll need to raise wages. And now above the $25K/yr level unemployment gives. Hey, won’t that make FOOD prices rise and then perfectly match and erase the stimulus? Has this happened everywhere on earth every time it’s been tried?


    another one bits the dust


    COVID-19 cases arrives in San Diego

    By: KGTV StaffPosted at 7:15 AM, Apr 29, 2020 and last updated 6:15 AM, Apr 29, 2020
    SAN DIEGO — A Navy destroyer with confirmed coronavirus cases docked in San Diego on Tuesday to treat sailors and disinfect the ship.

    Sailors aboard the USS Kidd guided-missile destroyer arrived at Naval Base San Diego, where all sailors will be isolated off-ship and undergo twice-daily screenings for COVID-19, according to the Navy.

    Crewmembers who test negative for the virus will enter quarantine and have daily visits from doctors to monitor any symptoms. A small number of sailors who have tested negative will remain on the ship for essential operations and deep-cleaning.

    The Navy said as of Tuesday, health officials had tested 45 percent of USS Kidd crewmembers for COVID-19. There are 47 confirmed cases among crewmembers.

    “Sailors have called San Diego home for many years, and we’re especially thankful for that relationship now,” said Commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Richard Brown. “Taking care of our Sailors and cleaning this ship is a team effort, and we’re fortunate that the partnership between the Navy and the city of San Diego is allowing us to focus on that mission.”

    The Navy says the USS Kidd was at sea participating in counter-narcotics operations when several sailors started showing flu-like symptoms.

    One sailor was medically evacuated to the U.S. on April 22 after experiencing shortness of breath, the Navy said. The Navy redirected the USS Makin Island to rendezvous with the USS Kidd to provided medical facilities and testing.

    Fifteen sailors who needed more observation were transported to the Makin Island out of an abundance of caution. A second sailor was also medically evacuated back to the U.S., while the Kidd began cleaning efforts, the Navy says.

    None of the USS Kidd’s positive cases have required ventilators or ICU treatment, according to the Navy.

    While in San Diego, the ship will undergo a strategic deep-cleaning regimen, room-by-room. The process will take about two weeks, according to the Navy. Those aboard the ship are wearing personal protection equipment, including N95 masks, and physically distancing.
    Sailors will also be required to report any symptoms.

    This story was originally published by Mark Saunders on KGTV in San Diego.


    If you are still thinking that lockdowns emotional impact is a nothing burger, please think again. The ACE study of childhood trauma is unparalleled in the quality of data on the subject of childhood trauma. According to this report, childhood trauma can reduce life expectancy by decades. How can one not consider this impact?


    Okay here’s another one-Japan has three times the population of Canada and one third the number of covid cases, in spite of a much laxer lockdown.

    Here’s one more for the road (sorry for it being do long -it was a comment on an article on covid:

    I’m an ER doc and do some admin work so have been VERY busy preparing for COVID.
    I have a vested interest in flattening the curve as I don’t want to have a Bergamo or NYC situation in my ER’s.
    That said, it is now VERY clear that this virus is not an indiscriminate killer of random healthy young folks. Rather, it’s emptying out nursing homes and knocking off people who have serious medical problems. In Italy, average age of death was 78. If you understand demographic curves, and mean vs. median, you’ll realize this means the majority are over 78. In Ontario, only 40 of 550 deaths so far were under 60, and almost certainly few or none were healthy people pre-COVID.
    The other thing I have seen is young healthy people with lots of potentially productive and happy years ahead of them coming to bad ends because of delayed care due to COVID fears and hospital program shutdowns, and definitely some deaths of young folks in our province have been caused by COVID lockdown.
    So what we are seeing is a trade-off. We are sacrificing younger people by COVID lockdown, to save people (or delay death, because it’s not clear we can prevent COVID in the long term) to save older, more unwell people.
    The head of the UN world food program estimates that 30million may die from starvation due to the lockdown’s effect on food production and the economy.
    We need to open our eyes and realize that we cause suffering if we don’t lock down, but we cause suffering if we do. We need to do a step-wise rollback of the lockdown in a way that keeps our ER’s and ICU’s functional and not completely overwhelmed. But right now Canada’s problem in most provinces is empty hospitals and a lack of care for the average patient in need.


    We believe science. We trust the doctors. Unless they’re California ER doctors with 5 million views. Then we delete them.

    I stopped reading right there. These two doctors messed up the statistics pretty badly — their views are based on bad science and bad math. The most concise takedown was posted over on Mish’s site. Having said that, the WHO is not a reliable source of information either, and Youtube is making a big mistake by making WHO the final arbiter of truth.


    The world has separated into nations who controlled the Wuhan coronavirus, and those who didn’t. The USA has the added problem that the food supply chain is breaking down. Right now there are shortages of meat, vegetables and goods for a stay at home population. If the West did what the Asian and South Pacific nations did, they would have the same outcome. But that means restoring competent national governments and public health system that provides all the healthcare and food they need plus a safe shelter for the infected. Instead, the professional managerial class will seize assets, profiteering on lost American lives. The lockdown will evaporate. The death toll will climb from the Vietnam War to the US Civil War levels. Millions more will die; if the wild cat strikes escalate, the food shortages become permanent, the virus overwhelms the nation’s hospitals, and the USA splinters apart.

    Tyson Food is offering a $1,000 dollars to its workers. This is a living hell with no alternative. Risking respiratory death by downing at home or in the ICU if space is available just to pay a couple of weeks of bills. This is the replay of the sacrifices at Chernobyl without the valor.


    sumac, do you really think you can compare Japan and Canada? Do you really mean to suggest that Canada would have the same lower infection rate as Japan if it had a more lax lockdown like Japan? Not sure where you are coming from. In Japan most people go along with recommendations voluntarily, so there is no need for the hammer. I am not sure that is the case in Western societies.

    As for the emotional impact of lockdowns, that is certainly undeniable, especially for people just barely getting by. But isn’t the real problem that these people have no backstop? In countries that are not so leveraged, or where people have more savings, or where there is a more generous safety net, I do not think that the emotional impact is as severe. So rather than call for an end to the lockdowns, how about if we revisit why there is no safety net in the US, and why so many people are just barely getting by, and why wealth inequality just keeps getting worse and worse? Maybe those are the issues we should be tackling. Like answering why nobody bats an eye when the Fed transfers 4 trillion to the banks, or when we have a record military budget, but then there is no money for the people because there is no way to pay for it.

    V. Arnold

    V Vet
    Tyson Food is offering a $1,000 dollars to its workers. This is a living hell with no alternative. Risking respiratory death by downing at home or in the ICU if space is available just to pay a couple of weeks of bills. This is the replay of the sacrifices at Chernobyl without the valor.

    How are you doing. Six weeks shut in alone is no picnic; even for this hermit…
    Keep posting; your posts are poignant and well worth reading.
    Take care…


    Your closing paragraph of questions is rhetotical at best and will never be answered…
    …but of course, you know the answer as well as I do…
    Keep on keeping on…………… 😉




    Ilargi, correct hemisphere, but rather than the 40th parallel, I was thinking more in line with the 10th:


    Your closing paragraph of questions is rhetorical at best and will never be answered…

    I haven’t given up on sumac yet. I am sure someone so keen on persuading others will engage in the dialogue.

    V. Arnold

    I am sure someone so keen on persuading others will engage in the dialogue.

    She is persistant; I’ll give her that….

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