Oct 202021
 


Paul Gauguin Fatata te Miti (By the sea) 1892

 

Even Fully Vaccinated Older People Are At High Risk For Severe Covid (NatGeo)
Even Doctors In Red States Are Punished For Saving People From Covid (Blaze)
‘Terrible Mistake’ Could Send Execs To Jail Over Vaccine Certificates (AFR)
We Accidentally Solved the Flu. Now What? (Atl.)
Study Destroys Justification for Vaccine Mandates (Siri)
SF’s Only In-N-Out Refuses to Enforce the City’s Vaccination Mandate (SFE)
9 In 10 Large Employers Worry About Losing Employees Over Vaccine Mandate (CTH)
Southwest Drops Plan To Put Unvaccinated Staff On Unpaid Leave (CNBC)
Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi’s Italy (NC)
The Frightened Class (Harrington)
Andrew McCabe’s Settlement With The DOJ Is A Signal To John Durham (Brock)
Joe Biden and the Disappearing Elephant (Turley)

 

 

Fauci Fail

 

 

Brought to you by..

 

 

Seattle

 

 

 

“If you’re under 45, your chances of dying are almost nonexistent, and then it increases exponentially.”

Even Fully Vaccinated Older People Are At High Risk For Severe Covid (NatGeo)

Mounting data suggest that older people are at higher risk of severe disease from a breakthrough infection of COVID-19—and scientists say that should come as no surprise. After all, older age brackets have been disproportionately at risk throughout the pandemic, and that continues to be true even once someone is fully vaccinated. Concerns about breakthrough infections bubbled up again this week when news broke on October 18 that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had died after contracting COVID-19. Powell was 84, but his cause of death was more complex: The former statesman suffered from multiple myeloma, a cancer of white blood cells. People with this form of cancer tend not to respond well to vaccines.

But in addition to the immunocompromised, health officials are seeing worrying evidence that older age groups continue to be at higher risk from the pandemic. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over 65 account for 67 percent of hospitalizations and 85 percent of deaths from breakthrough cases. And recent media reports citing data from Seattle, Washington, and the United Kingdom show that older vaccinated people face similar—and, in some cases, greater—risks of severe disease than unvaccinated children. “The huge risk factor is age,” says William Petri, an immunologist at the University of Virginia. That’s why the U.S. prioritized vaccinating older people and those in long-term care facilities when it first rolled out the vaccines, he explains.

“If you’re under 45, your chances of dying are almost nonexistent, and then it increases exponentially.” [..] Experts say they still don’t have an adequate explanation for why older people were more susceptible to COVID-19 even before vaccines were available. “It’s just one of the great mysteries of the virus,” says Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona. Scientists who study aging say it likely has to do with some of the hallmarks of getting older. For example, the human body normally clears away cells that have become damaged due to disease, injury, or stress. But as the body ages, this process becomes less efficient, and it starts to accumulate so-called senescent cells, which are damaged but won’t die. These cells secrete chemicals that damage neighboring healthy cells and trigger inflammation. Senescent cells thus weaken the body and make it harder to fight off infections.

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Ryan Cole.

Even Doctors In Red States Are Punished For Saving People From Covid (Blaze)

You are not allowed to treat COVID outpatient. It’s not about any one drug. You will be punished if you dare treat patients with anything that works. What began as 15 days to flatten the hospital curve has grown into a ban on all treatment outside the hospital to ensure everyone sick with moderate disease lands in the ER. No, they will not prosecute a doctor, they will just threaten to pull his license, which is why doctors won’t even prescribe azithromycin or prednisone, much less ivermectin and other proven antiinflammatories. What if you are part of the 1% of doctors who actually save lives — who run toward the fire rather than away from it? Instead of getting a medal of honor, these national heroes are now losing their licenses.

Idaho is not California. In fact, many Californians are fleeing to Idaho to escape the progressive persecution of the once Golden State. Yet now, with their investigation of Dr. Ryan Cole, the Idaho Medical Board wants to ensure that no doctor will ever treat you for this virus. If you contract this virus, there is probably nobody in the world you’d want access to more than Dr. Cole. A Mayo Clinic-trained anatomic and clinical pathologist who is licensed in 12 states, Cole knows the mechanisms of pathogens and various medicines as well as you know the streets of your neighborhood. He has lived the COVID pandemic in his Idaho lab since last March, diagnosing over 100,000 cases, and has given up much of his regular work to treat patients on his own time and own dime for months. His record is remarkable, and I have many friends and listeners of my podcast who are alive today because of his brilliance and kindness.

So there will be a ceremony in the Oval Office next week to present Dr. Cole with a medal for treating people in a pandemic while others let their patients die, right? At least the Idaho governor, Brad Little, will offer him some state reward? Nope. Instead, they are threatening to yank his license. Steven Kohtz, MD, president of the Idaho Medical Association’s board of trustees, and Susie Keller, CEO of the association, wrote a letter to the state’s board of medicine on Oct. 7, lamenting that “he has treated patients ‘from Florida to California'” with ivermectin. The horror! He should have let them die and not treated them at all, like Kohtz and his colleagues have done since last March.

In the letter, they claim Cole’s statements have killed people. “Many of those statements have advocated that people not be treated appropriately and undoubtedly have led to and will continue to lead to poor health outcomes as people are encouraged not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain appropriate treatment for it when such treatment could improve their health.” Well, how could treating pulmonary symptoms with steroids and antiinflammatories be worse than not treating them at all? This is the ultimate exercise in projection. They assuage their own guilt of letting patients die by preventing others from treating people in the critical early days of the virus.

ADE

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Oops.. There’s a reason your medical data are private.

‘Terrible Mistake’ Could Send Execs To Jail Over Vaccine Certificates (AFR)

Collecting COVID-19 vaccination certificates from customers or employees poses a serious legal and cyber security risk to businesses that exposes them to lawsuits, hefty fines and even executive jail sentences if the data isn’t handled properly, experts warn. The risk is so grave that businesses that have already stored images of government-issued vaccination certificates from employees or customers are advised to scour their email or human resource systems and delete the images, or at the very least remove a sensitive piece of information prominent on the certificate that exposes businesses to a “world of data security pain”, one expert says. As part of state and federal requirements for emerging out of the pandemic lockdown, businesses are asked to check whether customers and employees are vaccinated before allowing them to enter their premises.

Businesses storing information about whether someone has been vaccinated are therefore storing health information, quite possibly for the first time, exposing them to the Privacy Act, which requires they take “reasonable steps” to secure that information, said Anna Johnston, a former NSW deputy privacy commissioner who runs her own data privacy consultancy, Salinger Privacy. Worse than that, the federal government certificates contain a unique identifier, known as the Individual Health Identifier (IHI), that is covered by its own law, with much stricter data security requirements and with punishments that could include jail if that one piece of data is mishandled, Ms Johnston told The Australian Financial Review.

Together with the Tax File Number, the IHI is the most sensitive piece of data used by government, she said. It uniquely identifies Australians for healthcare purposes, far more so than a Medicare number, which can be shared by family members. It’s so sensitive that, when it was brought in 2010, it came with its own privacy legislation, the Healthcare Identifiers Act. “Including the IHI on the vaccination certificate, which is a document we’re supposed to be showing to our gyms, hairdressers and restaurants, as well as to our employers and customers, was a terrible mistake by the federal government,” she said. “It’s a bad data-security problem that the government has created.

“I really feel for small businesses in particular. They don’t have an in-house compliance officer telling them what to do. They don’t have an information security officer telling them how to secure these records. They probably don’t have the foggiest clue that there are special rules for the use and disclosure of the IHI that, if they breach those rules, expose them to both a civil penalty and a criminal penalty. “You face up to two years imprisonment for use or disclosure of the IHI for any purposes outside of supporting healthcare. And now that number is on a PDF that is being emailed around willy nilly.”


Australia’s vaccination certificate has a piece of data experts warn shouldn’t be there.

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Kimberley Strassel: “Here we go. Some of us wondered how long it would take for the liberal/media establishment to argue that we needed to keep pandemic measures going forever–even for things that we previously lived with, like the flu. It didn’t take long..”

We Accidentally Solved the Flu. Now What? (Atl.)

Perhaps the oddest consolation prize of America’s crushing, protracted battle with the coronavirus is the knowledge that flu season, as we’ve long known it, does not have to exist. It’s easy to think of the flu as an immutable fact of winter life, more inconvenience than calamity. But each year, on average, it sickens roughly 30 million Americans and kills more than 30,000 (though the numbers vary widely season to season). The elderly, the poor, and people of color are all overrepresented among the casualties. By some estimates, the disease’s annual economic cost amounts to nearly $90 billion. We accept this, when we think about it at all, as the way things are.

Except that this past year, things were different: During the 2020–21 flu season, the United States recorded only about 2,000 cases, 17,000 times fewer than the 35 million it recorded the season before. That season, the flu killed 199 children; this past season, as far as we know, it killed one. “We’ve looked for flu in communities and doctors’ offices and hospitals, and we’ve gotten almost zero,” says Emily Martin, a University of Michigan epidemiologist who’s part of the CDC’s flu-monitoring network. The same was true of other seasonal respiratory viruses last winter, says Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist at George Mason University in Virginia, though some have since rebounded. RSV, parainfluenza, rhinovirus, adenovirus—for a while, they all but vanished.

For this, perversely, we can thank the pandemic. The coronavirus itself may have played some role—infection could produce a general immune response that would also confer protection against the flu—but most of the epidemiologists I spoke with instead emphasized the importance of the behavioral changes adopted to slow the spread of the coronavirus: masking, distancing, remote learning, working from home, limiting indoor social gatherings. Despite the inconsistency with which America deployed them, these measures helped tamp down the spread of the virus, but they completely crushed influenza, a less transmissible foe to which the population has considerable preexisting immunity. We set out to flatten the curve, and we ended up stamping out the flu.

This was one of the few blessings in an otherwise abysmal winter, in which COVID cases and deaths surged to their highest levels ever in the U.S. At least we didn’t face the dreaded “twindemic.” But our triumph over the flu also poses a dilemma, as much ethical as epidemiological. We’ve demonstrated conclusively that saving nearly everyone who dies of the flu is within our power. To do nothing now—to return to the roughly 30,000-deaths-a-year status quo without even trying to save some of those lives—would seem irresponsible. So what do we do? Which measures do we maintain and which do we let go?

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You mean there was ever any justification?

Study Destroys Justification for Vaccine Mandates (Siri)

Civil and individual rights are only meaningful if they continue to protect individuals during difficult situations. It is why the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of neo-Nazis to march through Jewish neighborhoods. It is why it upheld the right to burn the American flag. Protecting these rights when it is difficult protects us all. It assures that government will not erode these civil and individual rights, including during a pandemic. The CDC and State Health Department scientists just released a study that again reflects the dangers of making civil and individual rights contingent on a medical procedure. This study, titled Shedding of Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Despite Vaccination, reviewed swab specimens from 36 counties in Wisconsin from the end of June to the end of July 2021. They then checked the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in each swab.

What did they find? High viral load in “158 of 232 unvaccinated (68%…) and 156 of 225 fully vaccinated (69%…) symptomatic individuals.” Meaning there was effectively no difference between the symptomatic vaccinated and unvaccinated in terms of who was carrying, and therefore spreading, the virus. But the study does not end there. It also found high viral loads in “7 of 24 unvaccinated (29%…) and 9 of 11 fully vaccinated asymptomatic individuals (82%…).” Meaning, among asymptomatic individuals, the vaccinated had a higher percentage with a high viral load. As I explained in an interview with Shannon Bream, this reflects that the unvaccinated that catch the virus are more likely to be at home in bed with symptoms, while the vaccinated that catch the virus are more likely to have no symptoms and hence continue their daily routine unknowingly spreading the virus.

These findings are depicted in the following chart. Note that the lower the “N1 Ct value” the higher the viral load (and that a team at Oxford concluded that an N1 Ct value over 24 should not be taken to indicate the presence of any actual virus):

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Make In-N-Out your destination.

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government..”

SF’s Only In-N-Out Refuses to Enforce the City’s Vaccination Mandate (SFE)

The only San Francisco location of wildly popular California-based fast food chain In-N-Out Burger was temporarily shut down and remains closed for indoor dining after the SF Department of Public Health found the restaurant was not properly enforcing the city’s vaccination mandate for indoor dining, KRON4 reported first. The city shut down the restaurant at 333 Jefferson Street on Thursday, October 14, after learning staff weren’t checking diners’ proof of vaccination or preventing customers without proof of vaccination from entering. The restaurant has since resumed takeout and outdoor dining, but the company seems to be digging its heels on the vaccination mandate.

In a statement provided to Eater SF, In-N-Out Chief Legal & Business Officer Arnie Wensinger says the company believes requiring its staff to enforce a vaccination mandate constitutes government “overreach” and is refusing to do so. “We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business,” Wensinger’s statement reads. “This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.” In an email to Eater SF the San Francisco Department of Public Health says it’s been trying to get In-N-Out to adhere to the city’s vaccination order for weeks.

The city’s Joint Information Center Outreach Team first visited the restaurant on September 24 after receiving a complaint to the 311 non-emergency service line. Inspectors from the Environmental Health division who followed up on October 6, found the restaurant was still in violation of the health order and issued a Notice to Comply. The department finally issued a Notice of Closure on October 14, at which point the restaurant was “instructed to cease all operations on site immediately because of the threat it poses to public health,” according to the Department of Public Health. The owner of the property, Anchorage Holdings LP, which is based in Addison, Texas, was also issued a Notice of Violation.

The company says it has “properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements.” But In-N-Out also admits employees were not checking customers’ vaccinations cards and IDs, nor were they preventing customers who are not able to prove they’ve been vaccinated from entering the restaurant, which the health department told the company that staff must do. “As a Company, In-N-Out Burger strongly believes in the highest form of customer service and to us that means serving all Customers who visit us and making all Customers feel welcome,” the statement continues. “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant Associates to segregate Customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason.”

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“It will be interesting to see if, and how quickly, a parallel economy with a vaccination option workforce, will take root.”

9 In 10 Large Employers Worry About Losing Employees Over Vaccine Mandate (CTH)

In an unusual twist to the strength of the multinationals, many large corporations are worried they will lose critical employees to smaller organizations with less than 100 employees who do not have to enforce the national worker vaccine mandate. By itself the 100 worker rule, in combination with the exemptions being provided by the federal government for some politically connected union organizations, would seem to undercut the premise of the “national health emergency.” If the COVID pandemic is such a national threat, why would any groups be excluded from the mandate? However, until the Dept of Labor rule is officially registered, court cases to hear such arguments are not possible. A recent survey by The Society for Human Resource Management, as shared by The Hill, indicates that 9 out of 10 large employers are concerned about losing significant amounts of workers due to the federal mandate:

The Hill – […] “The survey reveals uneasiness among employers over the impending workplace rule, which will require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or frequent testing. They’re most concerned about losing workers amid an extremely tight labor market. Another two-thirds of employers surveyed said that they cannot afford to pay for weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated workers. […] Others are worried that they could lose unvaccinated workers to rival firms with fewer than 100 employees or to independent contracting companies that aren’t subject to the rule.”

It will be interesting to see if, and how quickly, a parallel economy with a vaccination option workforce, will take root.

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Well, not really.

Southwest Drops Plan To Put Unvaccinated Staff On Unpaid Leave (CNBC)

Southwest Airlines has scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have applied for but haven’t received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave as of a federal deadline in December. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are among the carriers that are federal contractors and subject to a Biden administration requirement that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 by Dec. 8 unless they are exempt for medical or religious reasons. Rules for federal contractors are stricter than those expected from the Biden administration for large companies, which will allow for regular Covid testing as an alternative to a vaccination.

Executives at both carriers in recent days have tried to reassure employees about job security under the mandate, urging them to apply for exemptions if they can’t get vaccinated for a medical reason or for a sincerely held religious belief. The airlines are expected to face more questions about the mandate when they report quarterly results Thursday morning. Pilots’ labor unions have sought to block the mandates or sought alternatives such as regular testing. Southwest’s senior vice president of operations and hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Julie Weber, vice president and chief people officer, wrote to staff on Friday that if employees’ requests for an exemption haven’t been approved by Dec. 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed.

The company is giving employees until Nov. 24 to finish their vaccinations or apply for an exemption. It will continue paying them while the company reviews their requests and said it will allow those who are rejected to continue working “as we coordinate with them on meeting the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation).” “This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case,” they wrote in the note, which was reviewed by CNBC. Southwest confirmed the policy change, which comes just weeks before the deadline.

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“..if none of the unvaccinated workers were to cave in to the government’s demands — some will, of course, we just don’t know how many — the number of people without work in Italy would increase by well over 150% — in the space of just one week!”

Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi’s Italy (NC)

As of last Friday all residents of Italy need a covid passport, or Green Pass, to access not only public spaces but also public and private workplaces. The pass proves that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have recovered from the disease in the past six months or have recently tested negative. And now they need it to make a living, to feed their families. The “no jab, no job” rule applies to workers of all kinds, including the self employed, domestic staff and even people working remotely. If you’d still rather not get vaccinated, you have the option of showing proof of a negative test every two days. That can cost anywhere between €15 and €50 each time — far beyond the means of most low-paid workers. If you still refuse to get vaccinated or present proof of negative tests, you face unpaid suspension as well as a fine of up to €1,500. Public sector workers have five days to present the green pass before being suspended. Private sector workers without a green pass face suspension from the first day.

Here’s more from Politico: “By law, all workers must be able to show a so-called Green Pass, proving they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative in the past 48 hours. Roughly 81 percent of Italians over 12 are fully vaccinated. While polls suggest the majority of Italians are in favor of vaccine passes (just as the majority of people in all countries are in favour of vaccine passes, according to polls), there are still 3.8 million unvaccinated workers, many in strategic sectors and public services such as ports, trucking, health care and law enforcement, who will be unable to work.”

This is by any measure a massive cull of workers. Three point eight million is more than 5% of Italy’s entire population and over 16% of the country’s officially employed workforce (22.7 million). The total number of people currently unemployed in Italy is 2.3 million. In other words, if none of the unvaccinated workers were to cave in to the government’s demands — some will, of course, we just don’t know how many — the number of people without work in Italy would increase by well over 150% — in the space of just one week! And as the Politico article mentions, many of these workers are in strategic sectors and public services.

This is all happening as Europe — and the world at large — faces the worst supply chain crisis in decades as well as acute energy and labor shortages. The move also risks giving a huge boost to Italy’s already quite large informal economy. Given as much, this is a huge, high-stakes bluff on the part of Draghi’s technocratic government, which was formed eighth months ago. If it pays off, the vast majority of Italy’s vaccine holdouts will fall into line and go back to work, and other governments across Europe will follow suit with similar mandates. If it doesn’t, Italy’s economy could be plunged into chaos.

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Laptoppers.

The Frightened Class (Harrington)

They’re all around us, especially those of us who live in relatively prosperous metropolitan neighborhoods in the US or Western Europe. Despite being—at least in material terms—among the most fortunate people who have ever walked the earth, they are very scared. And they want you to be very frightened too. Indeed, many of them see your refusal to be as frightened as they are about life’s inevitable risks as a grave problem which entitles them and their often powerful and influential fellow travelers to recur to all manner of authoritarian practices to insure that you adhere to their increasingly neurotic view of reality.

This tendency has been in full bloom lately as the people who have sat safely behind their laptops during the last 20 months have harangued and threatened those who have been out on job sites and meatpacking plants mixing freely with others and the virus, to internalize their own obsessions. And when these supposedly ignorant others—whose storehouse of empirical evidence about the dangers of the virus easily outstrips that of the laptoppers—refuse to buckle to the demand to be scared, they are met with all sorts of opprobrium. Viewed in historical terms, it’s an odd phenomenon.

For most of recorded time prosperity and education have been the gateway to a life of relative freedom from worry. But now, the people who most enjoy these benefits are, it seems, wracked with anxiety and, in the not infrequent way of many people suffering that plague, and hellbent on sharing their misery with others. The point here is not to belittle the very real costs of anxiety in the lives of many people, nor to dismiss it as a real public health concern. Rather, it is to ask how and why it is proliferating so rapidly among those who, at least on the surface, have less reason than the vast majority of their fellow human beings to suffer from it.

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“.. the inspector general’s public report states that McCabe lied to investigators on four occasions, three of them while under oath. His firing followed the standards consistently applied to all other FBI agents.”

Andrew McCabe’s Settlement With The DOJ Is A Signal To John Durham (Brock)

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was un-fired when the Department of Justice (DOJ) — now firmly under a Democratic administration — agreed to settle with McCabe by fully restoring his FBI pension and removing all records from his FBI personnel file that indicate he was fired for cause. It wasn’t really a settlement. McCabe sued the government, and the DOJ said, “Okay, we’ll give you what you want.” The agreement does not change the findings of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz that McCabe lied under oath to investigators on three occasions; it simply eliminates all consequences for doing so. Oh, and it also forks over half a million dollars of taxpayer money to cover McCabe’s attorney’s fees. That’ll teach him a lesson for lying after raising his right hand three times and swearing not to.

DOJ’s magnanimity comes as special prosecutor John Durham has begun noose-tightening indictments in his probe of individuals involved in creating and furthering the discredited “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. The DOJ cannot prevent Durham from pursuing indictments of any former FBI executives, including McCabe, should the evidence lead to that. However, if he does, McCabe’s stunning absolution by a DOJ now controlled by the Democrats strongly indicates that a presidential pardon is likely in play for anyone who so vigorously investigated Republicans without an adequate basis to do so. In other words, it looks like these former FBI executives now have an “insurance policy” — to borrow an infamous phrase from former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

McCabe’s re-polishing also has the secondary salutary effect of perpetuating the longstanding Washington tradition of pushing blame as far down the hierarchy stack as possible, in order to leave unsullied the elite command staff who set the tone and lead the charge. [..] McCabe was hurriedly fired on the one-yard line just short of retirement eligibility, which affected his access to a full FBI pension. His beef with that action has some merit as inordinately punitive. Restoration of his retirement benefits is not something that most FBI agents are going to begrudge him, given his otherwise long career in the FBI. However, the inspector general’s public report states that McCabe lied to investigators on four occasions, three of them while under oath. His firing followed the standards consistently applied to all other FBI agents.

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“Committee Chairman Adam Schiff assured that public that “this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.”

Joe Biden and the Disappearing Elephant (Turley)

How Houdini made his 10,000 pound elephant Jennie disappear every night in New York’s Hippodrome remains a matter of some debate. There are no good pictures of his famous cabinet and Houdini later threatened to sue those claiming “disappearing elephants.” What is clear is that the sheer size and the audacity of the act (like that of the Bidens) contributed to the trick. The fact is that Jennie never left the large cabinet, people just didn’t see it. The Bidens achieved the same effect. They made a full-sized scandal disappear with the help of media and members who did not want the public to see it. Twitter banned postings about the laptop until after Biden was elected. The media dismissed the story as a conspiracy theory with some mocking the “New York Post and everyone else who got suckered into the ridiculous Hunter Biden Laptop story. Take a bow.”

Committee Chairman Adam Schiff assured that public that “this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.” Some 50 former intelligence officials, including Obama’s CIA directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta, also insisted the laptop story was likely the work of Russian intelligence. The laptop is, of course, now recognized as genuine even by some of the early deniers. Hunter remains under criminal investigation for possible tax and money laundering violations. But the greatest “reveal” is the person referred to as “the Big Guy” and “Celtic” in these emails: President Biden.

Recently released emails reference payments to President Biden from son’s accounts and indicate the possible commingling of funds. Even more embarrassing, the shared account may have been used to pay a Russian prostitute named “Yanna.” In one text, a former secret service agent warns Hunter (who was holed up with a prostitute in an expensive hotel) “Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account.” The question is whether prosecutors will continue to act like they do not see the elephant.

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Oct 052021
 
 October 5, 2021  Posted by at 8:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  84 Responses »


M. C. Escher Circle limit III 1959

 

They All Lied. Throw Them All Out NOW (Denninger)
Covid-19: The Hyperferritinemic Syndrome (Chesnut)
Slowly, Then All at Once (Kunstler)
The Age of Exterminations – III (Ugo Bardi)
Italian Court Sides With Nurse Wrongly Suspended For Refusing Covid-19 Jab (LSN)
New Zealand Abandons Controversial ‘Zero COVID’ Policy (SN)
India To Pay $674 Compensation For Every Covid-19 Death (BBC)
Harvard Epidemiologist Censored by LinkedIn for Defending Healthcare Jobs (BI)
New PCR Test Intelligence Suggests Covid-19 Virulent Earlier Than Thought (RM)
Antibodies Last Over A Year After Covid-19 Infection (JTN)
Europe’s Energy Crisis Presents A Real Danger (Lacalle)

 

 


From https://wereldintransitie.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/covid-19-in-perspectief.pdf

 

 

Veritas Pfizer

 

 

Qantas
https://twitter.com/i/status/1444644291758919686

 

 

“The ghouls involved in this up and down the line, from hospital administrators to doctors to nurses to politicians all must hang for this.”

They All Lied. Throw Them All Out NOW (Denninger)

The Government has been analyzing CMS data. Not a shock; they have every person over 65’s medical records, in real time, as everyone over 65, statistically speaking, is on Medicare and the government pays for it. They therefore have the records. The US Government has been analyzing this data through Project Salus. They know that:
• 71% of the Covid-19 cases occurred in these fully-vaccinated people and roughly 80% of the population >65 is vaccinated. In other words they know the vaccines do not stop you from getting Covid.
• Both of the mRNA vaccines lose effectiveness between 4-6 months post-injection; the failure rate doubles between 5-6 months as opposed to 3-4 months.
• Age is NOT why the vaccines lose effectiveness. It is simply that they stop working.
• While Moderna vaccines work slightly better than the Pfizer ones, the key word here is slightly. Both degrade materially and the difference in the 5-6 month timeframe is not statistically significant. Yes, it appears to be slightly better but not statistically so. In other words the damn things do not work to provide durable protection — period.
• The nuclear lie: As of August 7th 60% of hospitalizations were among fully-vaccinated individuals. You have heard repeatedly that this is now a “disease of the unvaccinated.” That is a damned, knowing lie.
• In the 5-6 month timeframe the hospitalization protection also is wildly ineffective; the rate per 100,000 approximately doubles between the 3-4 month and 5-6 month time periods.
• Prior infection is highly protective but post six months vaccination has become much less-so. Note that “prior infection” now goes back 18 months to the first wave. Do we still need to have a conversation about “natural immunity”? No: THE US GOVERNMENT KNOWS DAMNED WELL AND HAS PROVED THAT INFECTION PROTECTS BETTER THAN THEIR FRAUDULENT JABS.

This is now all in the data folks, and the US Government knows it. You have been lied to repeatedly folks — these are not errors, and what Fauci did yesterday on TV was not an error either. These are not “noble” anything; they are lies. The jabs are a failure in that no matter the promise you care to hang your hat on they become more and more worthless over time and that time period is short enough to void the effectiveness which the FDA claims must exist in order to approve such a thing as a “vaccine.” The Government has been analyzing this data and knows damned well the jabs stop working and in fact this is not a disease of the unvaccinated; the claims that the hospitals are “full of unvaccinated people” are damned lies intended to coerce you into a dangerous and, over time worthless act.

At the same time they know that prior infection and recovery is effective and remains effective yet they continue to claim that there is “no data” to prove this. They’re full of crap; they not only have the data they’ve analyzed it and know that’s yet another lie; there is no reason to take a jab that wears off if you have been previously infected. Period. And finally a new analysis shows this is not US-centric; infection rates are not correlated with vaccination percentages, which is hard, statistical proof that the jabs are worthless to stop you from getting and giving Covid-19 to others. The ghouls involved in this up and down the line, from hospital administrators to doctors to nurses to politicians all must hang for this.

Read more …

Check your iron.

Covid-19: The Hyperferritinemic Syndrome (Chesnut)

Ferritin is double edged. It is both an inflammation promoter and an immunosuppressant. But, it needs a trigger for BOTH of its abilities to be engaged. That trigger is none other than the Spike Protein’s cytotoxic attack on virtually EVERYTHING due to its affinity for ACE2! It is said that the Devil’s greatest trick is getting mankind to believe he doesn’t exist. It is the WHO’s and the CDC’s greatest trick that they convinced mankind that SARS-CoV-2 is a natural virus. It is a bioweapon. In particular, the Spike Protein. Only something invented could so artfully, perfectly bridge the gap and induce BOTH a hyperinflammatory state and immunosuppression. The result? ARDS in the short term. AUTOIMMUNITY in the long run.

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“Help wanted signs are plastered everywhere and no help is on the way.”

Slowly, Then All at Once (Kunstler)

Meanwhile, the country is too busy committing suicide by Covid-19. The stupid vaccine mandates guarantee the loss of hospital services and the failure of medical care generally as nurses, technicians, doctors, and even the cleaning crew peel away from their jobs. Ditto, public education… and just about everything else, really, where employment is conditioned on getting vaxed. A lot of ordinary people have weighed the costs and benefits and have decided to opt out. No thank you on blood clots and a premature death. Help wanted signs are plastered everywhere and no help is on the way. For many businesses, no parts or raw materials are on the way either. The truckers don’t want the vax. With the vaccine program failing, Pfizer and the gang are looking to ride to the rescue with a new magic Covid cure pill that does exactly what Ivermectin has been doing, though constantly maligned in the mainstream news. Get a load of this statement issued by the Associated Press on Friday.

“Falsely touted as a treatment for Covid-19?” That’s about as maliciously dishonest as you can get, since it will contribute to killing people whose lives would otherwise be saved by the Ivermectin protocol — which has been shown to be safe and effective in the clinical setting around the world. By the way, Ivermectin is an off-patent drug costing only about two dollars a pill. Since the Covid-19 early treatment protocol runs five days, that’s about $10 for that medication. It must gall the pharma companies to see that enormous profit-potential slip through their hands. Their go-to drug the past two years has been Remdesivir, which is neither safe nor effective and costs $3,100 for a course of treatment (NPR-News). How much do you suppose Pfizer will charge for its new ivermectin replacement? So, while America strangles its economy to death, seemingly on-purpose, do you suppose the capital markets will not notice? You bet they will, and that means big trouble for Wall Street, probably soon. This is their season of the witch, you know, and just last week they twitched up-and-down five hundred points a day. Looking a little shaky.


Is it a coincidence, by the way, that four officers of the Federal Reserve have been outed for trading stocks and bonds in a pattern that looks an awful lot like front-running the Fed’s own “guidance?” Robert S. Kaplan, head of the Dallas Fed, and Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Fed announced their “early retirements” last week over stock-trading ethics issues. Fed Vice-chair Richard Clarida’s financial disclosure statement indicated that he dumped millions of dollars in a Pimco bond fund and jammed them into a Pimco stock fund the day before Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced emergency interventions to battle the Covid-19 epidemic in early 2020. Mr. Clarida was involved in deliberations leading to the change in fed policy. And Richmond Fed president Thomas Barkin is under scrutiny for voting to bail out the corporate bond market while sitting on a portfolio of corporate bonds. In his past role as CFO of McKinsey & Co, a global consulting firm, Barkin advised Purdue Pharma L.P. on maximizing sales of its painkiller OxyContin, the infamous scourge of the US opioid epidemic.

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“In 2020 the average life expectancy in the US has declined by nearly 2% for a total of 600,000 extra deaths, most of them old people. So, we are talking of some 20 billion dollars saved just in terms of pensions. But it is much more than that considering the saving in health care costs.”

The Age of Exterminations – III (Ugo Bardi)

Let’s make a few calculations. In the US, there are nowadays about 46 million retirees living on social security. The US spends about 7% of its GDP on pensions, that is, about 1.5 trillion dollars per year (about $30.000/person/year). That’s more than the about 1 trillion dollars that the US government spends for the military budget, bloated as it is. Assuming that you could remove just 10% of the retirees, it would mean saving some 150 billion dollars per year. But, in practice, much more than that if you take into account the health care costs. For instance, summing nursing care facilities and home care for the elderly, we are talking of something close to 300 billion dollars per year, and that does not include hospitalization costs. The potential savings are truly huge: hundreds of billions of dollars.

Of course, exterminating the elderly cannot be done using the same demonization techniques used in the past against the witches and the Jews. Old people are fathers and grandfathers and their offspring won’t normally like to see them burned at the stake or gassed in extermination chambers. But extermination takes many forms, and it is rarely explicitly proclaimed. After all, it never happened in history that you could find a sign with the words “extermination camp” at the gate of an extermination camp. During WWII. for instance, the Germans were told that the Jews were just being relocated, not that they were being exterminated. In other cases, the people being exterminated were glorified as heroes. So, what form could the extermination of old people take? It would be done using well-known propaganda techniques, the main one being to state the exact opposite of what is being done. In other words, when the idea is to kill some people, propaganda will convince everybody that it is done to do them a favor (do you remember the “humanitarian bombs” dropped on Serbia?)

In practice, the weak spot of the middle-class retirees is that they need medical assistance and that they cannot normally pay the skyrocketing costs on their personal saving. So, they could be gently removed from the state budget by degrading the public health care system while saying that it is being modified in order to protect them. A clever way of doing it would be to focus so much on curing a specific single disease that the result would be a decline of the care for the illnesses that mostly affect aged people: cardiovascular diseases and tumors. A parallel measure to intensify the effect would be to degrade the quality of the food available, making it become less nutritious and contaminated with all sorts of pollutants.This method would not affect the elites, who can pay for good health care and and good food, but it will hit directly those who live on pensions.

Now, let’s take a look at the current situation. In 2020 the average life expectancy in the US has declined by nearly 2% for a total of 600,000 extra deaths, most of them old people. So, we are talking of some 20 billion dollars saved just in terms of pensions. But it is much more than that considering the saving in health care costs. These numbers are not large in comparison to the US budget, but not peanuts, either. And what we are seeing is just the start of a trend.

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“..suspended without pay in February..”

Italian Court Sides With Nurse Wrongly Suspended For Refusing Covid-19 Jab (LSN)

A civil court has sided with a nurse who was suspended without pay after she refused the COVID-19 vaccine. The ruling was given by the Tribunal of Milan on September 16, following the appeal of the Italian nurse, who was not named. She had been suspended without pay in February because she refused to receive the jab in defiance of a vaccine mandate imposed by her employer. The tribunal called the suspension “illegitimate” and ordered the employer to pay the nurse her full wages with interest and arrears. The decision overturns previous court rulings for similar cases. It is the first time in Italy that a court of law has ruled in favor of an employee in a case of a suspension or a dismissal for failure to vaccinate.

The decision comes from one of Italy’s most authoritative courts and is considered particularly significant because it overturns precedents and enshrines in law the illegitimacy of dismissing or suspending employees without pay for failing to vaccinate. “This was one of the first cases of suspension of a healthcare worker,” stated Mauro Sandri, the nurse’s lawyer, in an interview on YouTube. Sandri compared the case to that of 5 nurses in a similar situation; they lost their appeal in May. “Everyone [in Italy] will remember the ruling in Belluno, when 5 nurses who were suspended by their employer launched an appeal and lost it,” he said. “The mainstream [media] amplified the outcome of that ruling by going so far as to say that it was pointless to appeal to suspensions imposed by employers.”

Sandri then recalled that the ruling in that case was “unfortunately emulated by other tribunals, including Modena and Verona” and that “a jurisprudence had been created, giving employers license to suspend their employees.” All of Sandri’s previous attempts to appeal such decisions had been unsuccessful. However, he sees that this new decision had overturned the trend. “This decision was overwhelmingly positive, as it established the illegitimate nature of the suspension,” he said. The nurse in question had been suspended since February and had not received any salary since that time. The court therefore ordered the employer to pay her salary for the full period in which she had not been compensated, with added interest, as Sandri pointed out. “The appeal aimed at obtaining her reinstatement in the workplace (…) So we requested that, as well as a full payment of her wages, with arrears.”

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But the people who implemented it get to stay? How does that work?

New Zealand Abandons Controversial ‘Zero COVID’ Policy (SN)

New Zealand has announced it is dropping its controversial ‘zero COVID’ policy after numerous critics pointed out that such an approach to eliminating the virus was impossible. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement earlier today during a press conference in which she acknowledged, “The return to zero has been extremely difficult.” “What we have called a long tail has been more like a tentacle that has been difficult to shake,” she added, noting that the delta variant of the virus forced a change in policy. Critics had repeatedly asked how the country expected to maintain a ‘zero COVID’ policy given the emergence of new variants of the virus and decreasing efficacy of the initial round of vaccinations.


However, with 48% of the population fully vaccinated, no return to normal is expected anytime soon given that Ardern has said 90% will need to be fully vaxxed before the lockdowns will end. Kiwis have faced continuous lockdown measures almost as brutal as their Aussie neighbors since the beginning of the pandemic. As we highlighted in August, Ardern mimicked Australia’s top public health official by telling citizens, “Don’t talk to your neighbors,” after the country went into full lockdown as a result of just a single COVID case being detected. Authorities also previously announced that they would put all coronavirus infectees and their close family members in “quarantine facilities” even if they refuse.

Where will it stop?

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The differences within India are stunning.

India To Pay $674 Compensation For Every Covid-19 Death (BBC)

India’s top court has approved the government’s decision to pay 50,000 rupees ($674; £498) as compensation for every death due to Covid-19. The Supreme Court’s order followed a petition by lawyers seeking compensation under India’s disaster management laws. India has officially recorded more than 447,000 Covid-19 deaths so far. However, experts believe that up to 10 times more people could have died in the pandemic. They have arrived at different estimates after examining excess deaths – a measure of how many more people are dying than would be expected compared to the previous few years. On Monday Justice MR Shah said the “next of kith and kin of the deceased person” shall be paid this compensation within a month of applying. This would be “over and above the amounts paid by the centre and state under various benevolent schemes”, he said.


The court added that the compensation should be paid within 30 days after a family submits an application. In June, petitioners sought the court’s intervention in paying compensation to the families of Covid-19 victims. They said since Covid-19 was “specially” notified as a disaster under India’s National Disaster Management Act, compensation should be paid to the victims. The 2005 law was enacted for efficient management of disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and compensation for lost lives, injuries and damaged properties. The law says monetary assistance of 400,000 rupees should be paid to family of people who have lost their lives in a disaster.

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Kulldorff.

Harvard Epidemiologist Censored by LinkedIn for Defending Healthcare Jobs (BI)

Now LinkedIn – owned by Microsoft – appears to have joined the censorship brigade, targeting probably many venues but the Brownstone Institute in particular. The timing is particularly awkward because of the potentially millions of people who could be fired from their positions in the coming weeks and months for non-compliance with Covid mandates. Brownstone has defended the rights of workers to choose against vaccination and in favor of natural immunity or exposure through normal living. The takedowns of our posts began last week when the venue took down a piece arguing against the politicization of disease. The post was put up and disappeared. This happened to everyone who attempted to post the piece. It was a magic disappearing act, clearly targeting the URL and content.

We thought we found a workaround by posting the link for mobile viewing but LinkedIn’s algorithms figured that one out quickly and took it down too. As with all such cases, the first impulse is to believe that there was something about that piece that the censors found objectionable, perhaps in tone or content. And that piece did have an edge about it. Surely it was just once. It won’t happen again, or so we hoped. Now we find a pattern. The famed Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff – one of three brave scientists who drafted the Great Barrington Declartion one year ago today – wrote a piece in defense of the nurses at a Harvard hospital who are refusing the vaccination. These nurses and others in the hospital had worked mightily and tirelessly for 21 months with daily exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and had thereby acquired natural immunity which all research has shown to be as good or better than the vaccine.

They do not need it. It is unscientific to the point of absurdity for these immunity mandates not to consider natural immunity, about which humanity has known for 2.5 millennia. “Hospitals are firing nurses and other staff with superior natural immunity while retaining those with weaker vaccine-induced immunity,” wrote Kulldorff. “By doing so, they are betraying their patients, increasing their risk for hospital-acquired infections…. If university hospitals cannot get the medical evidence right on the basic science of immunity, how can we trust them with any other aspects of our health?” LinkedIn at first accepted the article on its platform. It unfurled the post with image and excerpt. It achieved a very high reach with many likes and shares. This makes sense because so many people on this platform are either losing their own jobs or losing colleagues in every profession. Kulldorff was bravely coming to their defense.

Within the first hour of posting, the unfurled posts started disappearing. Kulldorff’s own posting on his LinkedIn page disappeared. So did the Brownstone post. Along with it, all shares were made to disappear too. This article – by one of the world’s leading scientists at one of the world’s most prestigious universities that defended workers and their jobs – was being torn down by a platform designed to assist people in their career advancement.

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“..the timeline for when the virus was actually spreading in the wild would dramatically shift: from December 2019 to as early as May 2019..”

New PCR Test Intelligence Suggests Covid-19 Virulent Earlier Than Thought (RM)

The coronavirus may have been spreading through Wuhan, China much earlier than previously thought, according to an analysis of Chinese procurement records by Internet 2.0, a company that specializes in digital forensics and intelligence analysis. According to a report released Monday, entitled “Procuring for a Pandemic: An Assessment of Hubei Province PCR Procurement Contracts,” there was a dramatic increase in the number of Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, contracts inked by Hubei Province and institutions in and around Wuhan in the second half of 2019. [..] PCR tests are the gold standard for COVID-19 virus testing and if there was spike in the use of those tests in the Spring of 2019, as the report suggests, that could mean the timeline for when the virus was actually spreading in the wild would dramatically shift: from December 2019 to as early as May 2019.

Among other things, there was a dramatic increase in the total amount of money spent on these tests in and around Wuhan, in Hubei province, the report said. In 2015, institutions there spent about 19.1 million yuan ($2.9 million) on PCR tests. Two years later, in 2017, they spent about 29.1 million yuan and in 2018, institutions around Wuhan spent 36.7 million on these tests. But when analysts looked at the spending in 2019, the government contract value for PCR tests was higher than the previous two years combined: 67.4 million yuan. (The tests got more expensive, which also suggests they got pricer as demand went up, the report says.) A team of experts from the World Health Organization investigating the origins of the pandemic visited The Wuhan Institute of Virology back in June to see if it could link its research on coronaviruses with the pandemic.

WHO’s findings have been inconclusive, though the Internet 2.0 report notes that the institute was one of the biggest purchasers of PCR tests and equipment in the second half of 2019. The company’s analysis is based on data collected through bidcenter.com.cn, which tracks Chinese government contracts. According to the researchers, there were 52 contracts found in 2015, and about the same number in 2016. In 2019, though, institutions like the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, the Wuhan CDC, and Hubei CDC had secured 135 contracts for PCR tests. Nearly double the number of the previous two years combined.

The monthly breakdown of purchases offers clues, too. There was a significant increase in spending on PCR tests and equipment over the summer of 2019, starting in May, which was remarkably different from the spending patterns in previous years. “The full inventory of this catastrophe is still being compiled,” Robert Potter, one of the authors of the report, said in a written statement. “What is clear is that investigating the coverup of the virus still has some distance to go before it is fully understood. The data presented here gives us a strong indication that the outbreak started prior to December 2019, meaning the information gap and window for the emergence of the virus is larger than when we started this project.”

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Are we measuring the right thing? This appears to suggest that those who had severe Covid are better protected. I doubt it.

Antibodies Last Over A Year After Covid-19 Infection (JTN)

Most people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will carry antibodies for at least a year, according to a recent peer-reviewed study. The European Journal of Immunology accepted a study on Sept. 24 from scientists at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, who studied 1,292 subjects eight months after infection for the presence of antibodies. Their findings included 96% of subjects still carrying neutralizing antibodies and 66% with the nucleoprotein IgG antibody. After randomly selecting 367 subjects from the original cohort who were not yet vaccinated a year following infection, the scientists found that 89% of subjects still had neutralizing antibodies, and 36% with the IgG antibody.

Subjects who had experienced a severe SARS-CoV-2 infection had higher antibody levels, anywhere from two to seven times as many antibodies as those with mild infections at least 13 months after contracting the disease. While the antibodies provide lasting protection against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, their neutralization efficiency against the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants decreased over time. The neutralizing antibodies “were only slightly reduced” in the Alpha variant and “considerably declined” in the Beta variant. However, “over 80% of the subjects who had recovered from severe” SARS-CoV-2 infection still had neutralizing antibodies against the Delta variant a year after being infected.

Nature Medicine published a study in May that found “that neutralization level is highly predictive of immune protection” against SARS-CoV-2. A preliminary study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, found that antibodies decreased 10-fold just seven months after subjects received the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

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The decisions are made by people who don’t understand what energy is.

Europe’s Energy Crisis Presents A Real Danger (Lacalle)

This week the wholesale price of electricity has exceeded the psychological barrier of 200 euros per megawatt hour in most countries of the European Union. Although the daily price currently only affects 15% of the energy sold, since the rest is locked for almost twelve months since last winter at much lower prices, it is a sign of future risk. Thousands of contracts are going to have to be revised with huge price increases in the next three months when the locked contracts expire. The price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has soared to $34/mmbtu delivered in December and January. In comparable energy terms it would be about $197 per barrel of oil equivalent, according to Morgan Stanley. Meanwhile, the price of natural gas (NBP) has risen more than 200% in 2021.

The price of CO2 emission rights has increased more than 1,000% since 2017, and more than 200% in 2021. This concept, which is a hidden tax for which the governments of the European Union are going to collect more than 21 billion euros in 2021, adds to the inflationary spike.These extraordinary tax revenues should be used to mitigate the price increases in consumer bills and avoid an energy crisis in Europe that will sink the recovery. Two key factors explain the rise in energy prices and in both there is a responsibility of governments: The forced closure of the economy is a key factor to understand the damage generated in the supply chains, and the prohibition of investment in gas resources and abandoning nuclear in Germany has led to a more volatile and expensive energy mix in peak demand periods.

This, coupled with a political decision to impose a volatile and intermittent energy mix has left Europe much more dependent and exposed to gas price fluctuations. Renewable energies work 20% of the time and when they do not work, the only guarantee of supply is to use natural gas, which tends to happen as Asia demand rises and when its price has skyrocketed. Of course, demand is a very important factor, but we cannot forget that, in natural gas, as in coal, there is no supply problem. There is, in fact, excess capacity. Under normal circumstances, the price of natural gas and CO2 would have moderated once the base effect dissipated -in June-, but we forget the disastrous impact of monetary and government interventionism. The rise in CO2 emission rights is directly the fault of the tax voracity of European governments, which have massively limited the supply of these rights so that the price rises.

Additionally, the increase of many goods and services is directly due to the massive money supply growth in 2020, well above the demand for money, generating inflation by political decree. I do not understand how the fiscal voracity of some governments blinds them to two important risks: an energy crisis that leaves businesses and families suffocated by a price increase caused by political decisions, and a massive reaction of the population against environmental policies when they see prices skyrocket due to planning errors (more volatile and intermittent energy mix and dependent on gas) and legislation (charging citizens with the full cost of environmental policies and making those who pollute pay, and those who do not, pay even more ).

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15 years of WikiLeaks
Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks (Within months of this talk, #Assange was under house arrest. He has been arbitrarily detained since 7 December 2010.)

 

 

 

Ron Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime; donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

Jul 252021
 
 July 25, 2021  Posted by at 9:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Claude Monet Water lilies 1904

 

Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing
Adverse Reactions To The Covid-19 Vaccines Suffered By Infants (DE)
CNN: Segregate Unvaccinated, Make Them Pay For Tests Every Day (SN)
Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s ‘Noble Lie,’ Exposed (Rixey)
Big Protests Mark Global Anger At Covid Restrictions (F24)
Sydney Police Fine 100s Of Protesters For ‘Filthy, Risky Behaviour’ (G.)
Australian Leaders Blast Protesters, ‘Strike Force’ To Track Them Down (RT)
Protesters Slam Italian PM Draghi For Introducing Covid Health Pass (RT)
London Anti-vax Speaker Threatens Doctors With ‘Nuremberg Trials’ (RT)
FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror (Greenwald)
Space Returns Unwanted Amazon Delivery (BBee)

 

 

 

 

McCullough on long covid

 

 

The lower the vaccination rates, the lower the new infections.

 

 

Dalhousie: If a Professor of Infectious Diseases claims she’s been “immunized”, what hope is there for others?

 

 

 

 

Served its purpose?

Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

Level: Laboratory Alert

After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.

In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season. Laboratories and testing sites should validate and verify their selected assay within their facility before beginning clinical testing.

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“These vulnerable children will be used as part of a real-world experiment to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to all children, they are being treated in essence as sacrificial lambs.”

Adverse Reactions To The Covid-19 Vaccines Suffered By Infants (DE)

They’re coming for the children. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice to Sajid Javid’s Department of Health and Social Care, stating that children with disabilities should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine, despite the fact real world data shows that children as young as two-months-old in the USA have suffered paralysis, cardiac arrest and death after being given one of the experimental jabs. The JCVI said in a statement issued on the 19th July 2021 that “children aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, should be offered the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA Covid vaccine.

They have also recommended that “children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine”. The reason the JCVI give for this is that “immunosuppressed household contacts, who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 may not generate a full immune response to vaccination.” therefore in their opinion this will indirectly protect them. Perhaps the JCVI aren’t aware that the Covid-19 vaccines have not been proven to prevent infection or transmission? But they are aware that real-world data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in children is limited, and they are also aware that the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine are causing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) in younger adults; they say as such in their statement.


They’re also aware that all children and young people are at very low risk from Covid-19. Symptoms, and they know that fewer than 30 children have died because of Covid-19 in the UK since March 2020, all of them having severe underlying conditions which were the probably cause of death rather than the alleged Covid-19. So why are the JCVI recommending the Pfizer Covid-19 jab is given to children with disabilities and learning difficulties when they are fully aware of the above? These vulnerable children will be used as part of a real-world experiment to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to all children, they are being treated in essence as sacrificial lambs. That is evident from the fact that the JCVI recommend children with learning difficulties should be offered the jab.

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They finally found a target that is not Trump. Same MO. Clickbait wars.

CNN: Segregate Unvaccinated, Make Them Pay For Tests Every Day (SN)

CNN continued its wall to wall broadcasts calling for unvaccinated people to be punished, with analysts again calling for those who haven’t gotten the COVID shots to be segregated from society and forced to pay for tests every single day. First up was CNN’s resident medical health “expert” Dr. Leana Wen who called for vaccine passports and forever masking. “I think it depends on the circumstance,” Wen said, explaining “So if you’re going to the grocery store, and the grocery store doesn’t have the capacity to enforce some kind of proof of vaccination, then they have to say that indoor masking needs to apply, because we don’t know who’s vaccinated and who’s not.” “The same thing for schools,” Wen continued, adding “Schools, you can’t expect the teacher in every school to be asking ‘well you’re not wearing a mask so are you vaccinated or not?’

And so that’s the case, everyone should be wearing masks.” “But I can imagine there are already concert venues or workplaces that are saying ‘if you are not vaccinated, you can’t come, or you have to get a negative test.’ And that’s what’s needed in order to really incentivize vaccines at this point,” Wen further stated. Wen previously suggested that life should be made as difficult as possible for those who are still opting not to take the shots, and that Americans should be banned from engaging in social events and forced to undergo PCR tests twice a week if they want to stay unvaccinated. She also previously advocated directly linking the amount of freedom Americans should be allowed to their vaccination status.

Next up on CNN, which should probably be renamed VNN, was Former White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt who proclaimed that the Biden administration should become “very aggressive” and force unvaccinated workers and students to take daily tests and to cover the costs themselves. “We should be really seriously considering whether schools, workplaces, government agencies ought to be saying, ‘Hey, if you’re coming here, you need to be vaccinated. If you’re not, you need to show you have a negative test every single day,” Slavitt declared.

He continued, “Look, if people say they don’t want to be vaccinated, which some people might say, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that’s fine. We want you to show up every morning an hour before work and get a negative test. Maybe even at your own expense. Until the point where people will say, you know what? It makes more sense to actually get vaccinated. If you give people that option, I think you’re going to see more and more people take the option to get vaccinated.” “Option.” Right.

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Amazing deep dive. Primarily on Fauci.

Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s ‘Noble Lie,’ Exposed (Rixey)

Six months ago, I began my first article on scientific censorship during COVID-19 by introducing Dr. Fauci as a surprise character that had emerged unexpectedly while digging through what was then 83,000 FOIA emails, published by US Right-to-Know over the course of the last year: [see files related to Ralph Baric, Linda Saif, Rita Colwell, Colorado State/Rocky Mountain National Laboratory & the NCBI; other FOIA releases from Judicial Watch, Buzzfeed & the Washington Post include NIH funding of the WIV & Dr. Fauci’s emails]

I’ve been trying for quite some time to get people to understand the full scope of the Dr. Fauci ‘situation,’ but it’s clear that segments of our national leadership are preventing an honest and open inquiry into his actions because they fear the backlash/collateral damage that will result from the tarnishing of their sacred cow. It’s time Americans were told the truth – that the grant money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] is merely a footnote in this narrative. After all, Dr. Fauci controls nearly $4 billion of annual grant funding for the NIAID, the institute within the NIH he has directed since 1984; over 37 years, more than 50,000 research projects have been supported with more than $50 billion [conservatively] of taxpayer funds have been doled out to them.

It’s reasonable to hold him accountable for the results of his organization’s efforts, but the direct funding received by the WIV for Gain-of-Function (GOF) research represents only a tiny fraction of Fauci’s involvement in enabling risky research – the 2017 repeal of the GOF ban was decided without the consultation of the Trump administration, even though news coverage during the pandemic blamed him for the decision. Neither Fauci nor his boss Francis Collins [the NIH director] bothered to clarify the record, which looks especially disgusting in the wake of persistent rejections of Senator Rand Paul’s assertions [with accompanying evidence] that the NIH ever financially supported such research.

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The crowds are still too small, and protesting on a weekend day doesn’t truly count.

Big Protests Mark Global Anger At Covid Restrictions (F24)

More than 100,000 people protested in Australia, France, Italy and Greece on Saturday, sparking clashes with police as they railed against Covid-19 measures and government sanctions against the unvaccinated aimed at prodding more people into getting jabs. Dozens of protesters were arrested after an unauthorised march in Sydney, with the city’s police minister branding those who took part as “morons”. Organisers had dubbed the protest a “freedom” rally. Attendees carried signs and banners reading “Wake up Australia” and “Drain the Swamp”. In France, where police deployed teargas and water cannon against some protesters, an estimated 160,000 took to the streets in nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s health pass that will drastically curtail access to restaurants and public spaces for unvaccinated people.

“Freedom, freedom”, chanted demonstrators in France, carrying placards denouncing “Macron, Tyrant”, “Big Pharma shackles freedom” or saying “No to the pass of shame”. The demonstrations highlight the conflict globally between people caught between the advice of the World Health Organization and other public health agencies and the need to earn a living — or simply to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. In Indonesia and the UK, governments have pressed ahead with easing of restrictions even in the face of surging. Meanwhile, around 5,000 people demonstrated in Athens, carrying placards touting slogans such as, “Don’t touch our children”, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. And in Italy protesters gathered in Rome to demonstrate against a mandatory “green pass” for indoor dining and entertainment.

Earlier in Sydney, demonstrators pelted officers with pot plants and bottles of water as they defied a month-long stay-at-home order, a day after authorities suggested the restrictions could remain in place until October. New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “utterly disgusted” by the protesters whose “selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us”. Police said they issued nearly 100 fines and arrested 57 people. In Melbourne, meanwhile, six people were arrested. police said. New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott said a team of detectives would be scouring footage to identify and charge as many people as possible in the coming days. “Sydney isn’t immune from morons,” he said.

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When you address your own citizes like this, you aim to rule and divide.

Sydney Police Fine 100s Of Protesters For ‘Filthy, Risky Behaviour’ (G.)

Hundreds of fines have been issued and dozens charged in Sydney after anti-lockdown protesters marched and clashed with police in what one deputy commissioner called “violent, filthy, risky behaviour”. The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said was “utterly disgusted” by the thousands who had breached the region’s coronavirus measures to protest, saying on Sunday that the scenes “broke my heart”. Detectives are now combing social media and footage from CCTV and police-worn body cameras to identify and punish everyone who defied stay-at-home orders, which are now entering their fifth week. Police issued 510 fines on Saturday, with the “vast majority” coming from Saturday’s protest. Two have been charged with allegedly striking a police horse.

State police minister David Elliott was scathing of Saturday’s unrest, saying: “Sydney isn’t immune from morons.” Victorian officials criticised similar protests in the state capital, Melbourne. The state’s Covid-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar described those who took to the stresses as a “small minority having a self-indulgent tantrum”, with the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews warning that you “cannot vaccinate against selfishness”. The Sydney region is struggling to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant that started in Bondi last month, amid a sluggish vaccination rollout and persistent violation of stay-at-home orders among family groups. A Guardian Australia analysis has found it could take months to recede.

Around half of Australia’s 25 million people are in lockdown across several cities and states, with anger growing at the federal government for a vaccine programme that has fully inoculated less than 13% of the population since it began in February. New South Wales reported another 141 cases on Sunday, and two deaths, including a woman in her 30s who had no pre-existing conditions. “If anybody think this is a disease just affecting older people, please think again,” said Berejiklian. The ugly scenes in Sydney and Melbourne, – as well Adelaide and Brisbane – were also reflected across Europe as people railed against Covid-19 measures and government restrictions aimed at improving uptake of vaccines.

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Australia is lost.

Australian Leaders Blast Protesters, ‘Strike Force’ To Track Them Down (RT)

Australian police have already issued hundreds of fines in the wake of mass anti-lockdown rallies, and are looking for more info about the violators, as state leaders condemn protesters for endangering other people’s lives. In just 24 hours after Saturday’s mass protest, police in New South Wales issued 510 penalty infringement notices, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. He vowed that the authorities will continue to investigate the acts of “violent, filthy, risky” behavior. “A strike force is set up right at this moment that continues to ask for people to bring forward any video files or telephone footage that they have of that sort of behaviour.”

NSW Police Minister David Elliott earlier announced that at least 22 veteran detectives will be working as part of a special unit to identify and track down people who attended the rallies. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian echoed these sentiments, saying she was “absolutely disgusted” by the mass gatherings, and urging anyone who recognized any of the activists to contact police immediately. “I’m just so utterly disgusted, disappointed and heartbroken that people don’t consider the safety and wellbeing of their fellow citizens. NSW reported two deaths and 141 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, which is slightly lower than the day before. Authorities, however, have hinted that as the protest risks turning into a superspreader event, the month-long lockdown in Sydney might be extended even further.

“We don’t want a setback, and yesterday could have been a setback – time will tell,” Berejiklian said. The state’s current lockdown rules bar residents from leaving home except to obtain food and other “essential” goods and services, for medical care, including vaccinations, and for outdoor exercise and “essential” work. The state of Victoria in the meantime recorded only 11 new cases, but Premier Daniel Andrews blasted the protesters for putting “many other people in real danger,” and said that he could not rule out that the state’s own lockdown will also be extended. “We can’t vaccinate against selfishness, and these people should be ashamed, absolutely ashamed, it’s just wrong.”

Since the pandemic began, Australia has repeatedly staved off the spread of Covid-19 with some of the world’s most draconian lockdown measures, in pursuit of driving new cases down to zero even at the expense of civil liberties. Over the course of the pandemic, the country recorded just over 32,700 cases and 916 total deaths. On Saturday, thousands of people sickened by perpetual restrictions and confinement marched through major Australian cities, chanting “Freedom!” and clashing with police who were deployed to disperse these “illegal gatherings.”

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In the US, it’s the right that clamors for freedom. In Europe, not so much.

Protesters Slam Italian PM Draghi For Introducing Covid Health Pass (RT)

Protests against the Italian government’s plan to introduce health passes were held in more than 80 locations on Saturday, where people denounced the measure as discriminatory. Around 3,000 rallied in Rome and 5,000 in Turin, the capital of the northwestern Piedmont region, while smaller protests were held elsewhere across the country, Italian media said. Overall, demonstrations were reported in more than 80 cities and towns. People took to the streets to denounce the plan of the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi to introduce a health pass, known as the ‘Green Pass’. The document serves as proof that a person has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, has tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 48 hours, or has recovered from the virus.

Starting from August 6, only Green Pass holders will be allowed into cafes, restaurants, gyms, and open-air shows. Protesters view the measure as discriminatory. Some marched with signs that read, ‘Draghi Like Hitler’ and ‘Freedom, No More Dictatorship’, while others carried Italian flags and lit flares. “We say no to the Green Pass because it creates A-class and B-class citizens – those who have rights and those who have no rights,” a protester in Rome told RT’s Ruptly video agency. “This is against Italy’s constitution.” La Stampa newspaper reported that some business owners took part in the protest, fearing that the introduction of the pass will lead to a drop in clientele and endanger their livelihood.

Draghi said the Green Pass is necessary to stop the spread of the disease and restart the economy. Some politicians criticized Saturday’s protests. “Hearing words like ‘slavery’ and ‘Covid scam’ makes me shudder. According to these irresponsible [people], 130,000 deaths were perhaps only imaginary,” Senator Licia Ronzulli from the center-right Forza Italia party said, as quoted by La Stampa.

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Posted on RT, but sounds like MSNBC.

London Anti-vax Speaker Threatens Doctors With ‘Nuremberg Trials’ (RT)

Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination activists rallied in multiple British cities against the vaccine passport initiative. In London, one of the speakers triggered a major controversy by likening NHS staff to Nazi doctors. Thousands of people gathered at Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for the ‘Freedom Rally’, to protest the restrictive measures introduced amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Demonstrators flooded almost the entire square, holding placards and banners reading: “No to forced testing” and “No to forced vaccination.” Many activists went as far as accusing the government of “crimes against humanity,” while banners seen in the crowd ranged from 5G conspiracy theories to flags reading “Trump for 2024.” Though minor scuffles erupted on the sidelines of the event, resulting in several arrests, the rally was otherwise peaceful.


The gathering was attended by controversial media personality Katie Hopkins, who just returned from Australia after her visa was canceled over a quarantine breach. Former TV presenter turned-conspiracy theorist David Icke was also present, as well as Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. One of the speakers, Kate Shemirani, a former nurse turned-anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist, triggered a major controversy, calling the vaccines “Satanic” and describing them as part of a larger surveillance scheme – while urging people to send her the names of doctors and nurses involved in the vaccination campaign. “At the Nuremberg trial the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung.” “If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus… and stand with us, the people,” she said, claiming that a group of lawyers is helping her collect the information.

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The whole Whitmer thing stank from the get-go. But that no longer matters in the US. What counts is what words make you feel, not what they actually mean.

FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror (Greenwald)

The narrative that domestic anti-government extremism is the greatest threat to U.S. national security — the official position of the U.S. security state and the Biden administration — received its most potent boost in October 2020, less than one month before the 2020 presidential election. That was when the F.B.I. and Michigan state officials announced the arrest of thirteen people on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges, with six of them accused of participating in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had been a particular target of criticism from President Trump for her advocacy for harsh COVID lockdown measures. The headlines that followed were dramatic and fear-inducing: “F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” announced The New York Times.

That same night, ABC News began its broadcast this way: “Tonight, we take you into a hidden world, a place authorities say gave birth to a violent domestic terror plot in Michigan — foiled by the FBI.” Democrats and liberal journalists instantly seized on this storyline to spin a pre-election theme that was as extreme as it was predictable. Gov. Whitmer herself blamed Trump, claiming that the plotters “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed that “the president is a deranged lunatic and he’s inspired white supremacists to violence, the latest of which was a plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer,” adding: “these groups have attempted to KILL many of us in recent years. They are following Trump’s lead.”

[..] Yet from the start, there were ample and potent reasons to distrust the FBI’s version of events. To begin with, FBI press releases are typically filled with lies, yet media outlets — due to some combination of excessive gullibility, an inability to learn lessons, or a desire to be deceived — continue to treat them as Gospel. For another, the majority of “terror plots” the FBI claimed to detect and break up during the first War on Terror were, in fact, plots manufactured, funded and driven by the FBI itself. Indeed, the FBI has previously acknowledged that its own powers and budget depend on keeping Americans in fear of such attacks. Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes, in a documentary called “The Newberg Sting” about a 2009 FBI arrest of four men on terrorism charges, uttered this extremely candid admission:

If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive. In the Whitmer kidnapping case, the FBI’s own affidavit in support of the charges acknowledged the involvement in the plot of both informants and undercover FBI agents “over several months.” [..] An excellent piece of investigative journalism published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday documents that, far from being passive observers of the plot, FBI informants and agents were the key drivers of it:

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

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“..a giant metal gumdrop with 4 dudes in it..”

Space Returns Unwanted Amazon Delivery (BBee)

Outer space has returned an unwanted Amazon package that was sent to it unsolicited yesterday. According to witnesses, the package floated gently back down to earth after being rejected. Locals have asked Amazon to please “pick this thing up and bring it back to the warehouse” as no one really wants it around or knows what to do with it. If you know who ordered a giant metal gumdrop with 4 dudes in it, please call Amazon immediately.

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Protests July 24.

 

 

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Jul 232021
 


Edward Hopper Cape Cod morning 1950

 

Data From India Continues To Blow Up The ‘Delta’ Fear Narrative (Blaze)
Here It Comes (Denninger)
‘Pingdemic’ Triggers Widespread Panic Hoarding At UK Supermarkets (ZH)
List Of UK Venues That Could Mandate “Vaccine Passports” Already Expanding (SN)
Italy Will Start Requiring Covid Vaccine Passes For Many Activities (JTN)
Thousands Protest as Italy Mandates Health Pass (GP)
49 Fully Vaccinated People In New Jersey Have Died From Covid-19 (Blaze)
42 People Quarantined At San Antonio Assisted Living Facility (Ksat)
Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of (Webb)
The Trillion-Dollar Lie (Taibbi)
Facebook Cracks Down On Discussing ‘Hoes’ In Gardening Group (NYP)

 

 

 

 

Vaccine safety McCullough

 

 

Santorini

 

 

Big Pharma: 25% of US economy

 

 

“About the whole “vaccines don’t stop transmission but they stop severe disease thing”:
Number of new severe cases in Israel (where 95% of the population over 60 and 80+% over 20 is fully vaccinated):
Week of 6/22-6/29: 3
Week of 7/15-7/21: 81
That’s a mere 2600% increase.”

Data From India Continues To Blow Up The ‘Delta’ Fear Narrative (Blaze)

The prevailing narrative from Fauci, Walensky, and company is that Delta is more serious than anything before, and even though vaccines are even less effective against it, its spread proves the need to vaccinate even more people. Unless we do that, we must return to the very effective lockdowns and masks. In reality, India’s experience proves the opposite true; namely: • Delta is largely an attenuated version, with a much lower fatality rate, that for most people is akin to a cold. • Masks failed to stop the spread there. • The country has come close to the herd immunity threshold with just 3% vaccinated. • Most people are now getting cold-like symptoms from Delta, but to the extent countries hit by Delta suffered some deaths and serious illness, they could have been avoided not with vaccines and masks, but with early and preventive treatment like ivermectin.

In other words, our government is learning all the wrong lessons from India, and now Israel and the U.K. Let’s unpack what we know occurred in India and now in some of the other countries experiencing a surge in cases of the Indian “Delta” variant. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently conducted a fourth nationwide serological test and found that 67.6% of those over 6 years old in June and July had antibodies, including 85% of health care workers. This is a sharp increase from the 24.1% level detected during the December-January study. What we can conclude definitively is that strict mask-wearing (especially among health care workers) failed to stop the spread one bit. Yet now they have achieved herd immunity and burned out the virus with just 3% vaccination (now up to 6%) with roughly one-sixth the death rate of the U.S. and the U.K. and less than one-half that of Israel.

[..] If you look at any chart from Scotland, which is now mainly over the curve, there is a complete decoupling of deaths from cases. The same thing is being observed in Israel, which is slightly behind the curve. The country has had just 20 deaths so far in July, but again, 15 of them were of vaccinated individuals. However, to the extent that there are cases, and the relatively rare serious cases, the vaccines have proven to be a bust in preventing them. The Western countries are relying on an exponentially higher vaccination rate than India with a much lower seroprevalence rate from infection. It’s simply not working. According to Israel’s Ministry of Health, the Pfizer vaccine efficacy against infection dropped 42% since the start of the inoculation drive in Israel, and efficacy against severe illness has dropped 60% among those vaccinated early on. Ditto for the United Kingdom.<

[..] the experience from India and the Delta variant teaches us the exact opposite of what the panic-mongers are pushing. Natural immunity, not vaccination, is king.

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“This was not an “accident” since the studies were published and known — it was deliberate blindness undertaken in the interest of speed and money before human safety and indeed human life.”

Here It Comes (Denninger)

The “spike unit” that the jabs are all constructed around, it has developed, something known to the NIH and the pharmaceutical companies before Covid-19 was claimed to exist in January of 2020. There is a transfer agreement from the NIH to a university dated prior to that time, and some evidence that the exact spike configuration found in Covid-19 was being discussed in scientific papers long before that. How can you have a scientific discussion, write papers on and transfer technology related to something that isn’t known to exist yet? Fauci was grilled on this the other day by Congress, asked directly if the spike in Covid-19 was identical to that in said paper, and refused to answer with a yes or no. He knows damn well what the answer is and if he lied that would be proved 4perjury and a criminal offense.

If he tells the truth then the etiology of Covid-19 is conclusively known to wildly pre-date the so-called “discovery” and now we must start asking all sorts of other questions; said questions degenerate very rapidly into criminal culpability on the part of many including a whole bunch of people right here in the US. Fauci looked very nervous in that hearing — exactly like a man who has been caught bull****ting since the start, there’s a half-million bodies piled up as a result and his neck is itching. When the jab trials started, in short, we knew that severe disease from Covid-19 was primarily a thrombotic event. We also knew that roughly 80% of the population had decent if not excellent resistance and would get nothing more than a mild or moderate cold or flu from it. That proof goes all the way back to Diamond Princess.

Hell, a couple reasonably well-known to me got hit by the ‘Ro in the early months, both elderly and quite morbid. He was dead in five days while she never even sneezed, a flat impossibility for two people who are married and sleeping with each other if everyone is susceptible as we were told. We investigated and learned why that has repeatedly happened; the science was published in June, peer-reviewed by September and published in Nature — long before the first jab went into the first arm. These are facts. We also knew, from decades of trying, that coronavirus vaccines had always failed in the past. We deliberately did not look at the thrombotic profile of the trial participants in the vaccines; specifically, we did not pull d-Dimer and troponin tests (both cheap) on the participants before the jab, and then sequentially on intervals (e.g. 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks) to detect whether we were in fact inducing damage similar to the disease.

The drugmakers did not look because quite-obviously they did not want to know; if that showed up in the trials in any sort of statistically relevant percentage of the enrollees it would have instantly shut down the trials and freaked out the thousands in said trials who put themselves at risk. I remind you that in September of 2020 the first scientific paper was published indicating that the “Spike” was quite possibly the direct cause of the serious damage and virtually all Covid-19 deaths. Several papers followed starting in December of 2020, prior to mass-distribution of the jabs, confirming that the spike was directly capable of causing pathology — that is, severe damage — without the rest of the virus being present at all. Failing to halt the roll-out to prove that the vaccines, which all cause production of said spike in your body, would not cause the same effects was criminally insane and grossly negligent given the science at the time. This was not an “accident” since the studies were published and known — it was deliberate blindness undertaken in the interest of speed and money before human safety and indeed human life.

Antibodies
https://twitter.com/i/status/1418191279578656771

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The NHS app goes Ping when you’ve been close to a “case”: you need to self-isolate for ten days. Last week, it did that half a million times. Entire industries come to a halt.

‘Pingdemic’ Triggers Widespread Panic Hoarding At UK Supermarkets (ZH)

Britain’s supermarkets are struggling to ensure adequate food supply after reports of panic hoarding due to what the British press calls “ping-demic” – a reference to being “pinged” by the NHS test-and-trace system. We noted on Monday that ping-demic was likely to “lead to food shortages,” and that is precisely what is happening today. The Independent reports UK’s largest supermarkets are experiencing shortages after the number of people getting “pinged” on the NHS Test and triggered mass confusion. The NHS app sent a half-million alerts last week, notifying users they have to quarantine for ten days because of possible close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. This has caused a supply chain shock and disruptions as hundreds of thousands of people panic buy food and fuel to survive the quarantine.

British newspapers and social media users published pictures of empty supermarket shelves. “We’re very concerned about the situation,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News when asked about panic hoarding at supermarkets. “We’re monitoring the situation.” Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second-largest supermarket group, warned about supply shortages: “We are working hard to ensure customers can find what they need. “While we might not always have the exact product a customer is looking for in every store, large quantities of products are being delivered to stores daily and our colleagues are focused on getting them onto the shelves as quickly as they can,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Reuters.

The ping-demic comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted the remaining COVID-linked restrictions on movement and business at midnight on Monday, finally allowing people to move about more or less freely, even as new COVID cases are climbing in the UK and much of the EU. A meat industry body warned that Britain’s food supply chains are on the cusp of “failing” due to labor shortages. British supermarket Iceland had to close several stores in recent weeks due to staff shortages. Rabobank’s Michal Every points out that ping-demic is hugely disruptive to businesses as crucial staff suddenly don’t turn up to work when there are already labor shortages.

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ha ha ha

List Of UK Venues That Could Mandate “Vaccine Passports” Already Expanding (SN)

The list of attractions that could be forced to mandate vaccine passports as a condition of entry is already growing, with minister Nadhim Zahawi listing other “crowded venues” that may have to ban the unvaccinated. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a mockery of ‘freedom day’ – when all coronavirus restrictions were supposed to be lifted – by announcing that nightclubs would be made to check for vaccine status on the door. Despite widespread backlash to the idea and the potential for a defeat when it comes to a vote in Parliament, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi indicated today that the program could be extended further. During a speech to the Commons, Zahawi said sporting and business events, churches, music venues and festivals would also be subject to the rules, which are expected to come into force at the end of September. “We reserve the right to mandate its use in the future,” he said.


Zahawi also asked venues to make providing evidence of taking the jab or a negative test a condition of entry before September despite the fact that it’s not the law. “Although we don’t encourage its use in essential settings like supermarkets, other businesses and organisations in England can adopt the pass as a means of entry where it is suitable for their venue or premises when they can see its potential to keep their clients or their customers safe,” he said. As we previously highlighted, some nightclub owners are already saying they will refuse to follow the law because the system will be unworkable and wipe out profit margins. It remains to be seen whether the entire issue is just a PR stunt to bully younger people into taking the vaccine or whether it will actually be implemented. The government previously assured the public that vaccine passports would not be introduced for domestic purposes, even going so far as to label the practice “discriminatory.”

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“to keep economic activity open.”

Italy Will Start Requiring Covid Vaccine Passes For Many Activities (JTN)

Italian officials approved a decree Thursday that would require Italians to carry passes that reflect their vaccination status to access various public places. Premier Mario Draghi approved the system called “green pass.” The system will start being implemented on Aug. 6, according to the Associated Press. The passes will start being required if Italians want to go to gyms, museums, movie theaters, and the inside of businesses such as restaurants. Draghi said that the passes are needed so that people can enjoy activities “with the assurance they won’t be next to contagious people.” The premier argued that the passes, which people can get if they can prove they received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within the last nine months, are needed “to keep economic activity open.” Health Minister Roberto Speranza noted that approximately 40 million Italians have already downloaded a “green pass.”

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Thousands is not enough. Big protest weekend coming up in many places.

Thousands Protest as Italy Mandates Health Pass (GP)

Italy mandated their version of a vaccine passport today, called the ‘green pass.’ This gross violation of freedom sparked a wave of massive protests across the country. Just like the tens of thousands of French citizens who have been demonstrating in the streets for the past week, the Italian people were immediately outraged. Large crowds stayed well into the night and chants for freedom and “no green pass” rang out loudly. Protesters plan to continue the demonstrations throughout the weekend. The new measure forces people to show proof of vaccination if they want to engage in any of a wide range of day to day activities like eating indoors at restaurants. It also makes getting the jab compulsory for healthcare workers.


The Italian government issued the authoritarian mandates despite recent reports out of the UK and Israel that show the vaccinated account for 47% and 84% of all new covid cases, respectively. Democrats and their drooling media sycophants love to claim that America’s vaccine hesitancy is because of ‘wild right wing conservative disinformation’ that is ‘literally killing people.’ In reality, there is a worldwide resistance to this experimental vaccine. The mass uprisings in France, UK, Taiwan, Italy, Cuba, and many other countries, have sent that message loud and clear.

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That’s just the official number.

49 Fully Vaccinated People In New Jersey Have Died From Covid-19 (Blaze)

Forty-nine fully vaccinated individuals in New Jersey have passed away from COVID-19 through July 12, Garden State health officials informed NJ Advance Media on Wednesday. The outlet reported that according to New Jersey Department of Health spokesperson Donna Leusner, over half of the people who passed away had at least one underlying medical issue. “Of the 27 deaths of people with underlying conditions, 17 had cardiovascular disease, seven had diabetes and nine had cancer or other immunocompromised conditions, she said,” according to the outlet. “Five had chronic lung conditions, three had chronic kidney disease, one had chronic liver disease and five others are listed as ‘other chronic diseases,'” the outlet reported, noting that some individuals who passed away suffered from more than one underlying issue.


“All of the deaths were people over age 50, with 30 of them over age 80,” the outlet reported. “Thirteen of the deaths were people between the ages of 65 and 79, and six were between the ages of 50 and 64, Leusner said,” according to NJ Advance Media. The CDC reports that 48.8% of the total U.S. population have been fully vaccinated, while 56.3% have received at least one dose. [..] The CDC says that a small proportion of people who have been fully vaccinated will still become ill. “Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected,” according to the CDC. “COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.”

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Here, the fully vaccinated drag some innocent unvaccinated down with them.

42 People Quarantined At San Antonio Assisted Living Facility (Ksat)

Forty-two people are now in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 at a San Antonio assisted living facility, a management company for the facility confirms. The positive cases were reported among 31 residents and 11 staff members last week at Heartis San Antonio Assisted Living and Memory Care on the far North Side. All 31 residents are fully vaccinated; four staff members are fully vaccinated, three have their first doses and four have not been vaccinated, officials said. In Bexar County, as of Wednesday, July 21, city COVID-19 records show the seven-day average of new cases is at 363.


Although the hospital stress locally is deemed “mild,” the city website also indicates that the risk level of contracting the virus is “worsening.” Heartis San Antonio said it is testing all staff and residents weekly, and they are also conducting health screenings on a daily basis. The first employees that tested positive for COVID-19 were “exhibiting symptoms at work and were immediately sent home,” according to officials. All of those who tested positive for COVID-19 are out of the assisting living facility and were relocated to a nearby partnered facility, officials said.

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No politician will put a halt to this. They’d be run out of town.

Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of (Webb)

This past Sunday, an investigation into the global abuse of spyware developed by veterans of Israeli intelligence Unit 8200 gained widespread attention, as it was revealed that the software – sold to democratic and authoritarian governments alike – had been used to illegally spy on an estimated 50,000 individuals. Among those who had their communications and devices spied on by the software, known as Pegasus, were journalists, human rights activists, business executives, academics and prominent political leaders. Among those targeted political leaders, per reports, were the current leaders of France, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Iraq. [..] While the NSO Group has become infamous, other Israeli companies with even deeper ties to Israel’s intelligence apparatus have been selling software that not only provides the exact same services to governments and intelligence agencies but purports to go even farther.

Originally founded by former Israeli Prime Minister and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ehud Barak, one of these companies’ wares are being used by countries around the world, including in developing countries with the direct facilitation of global financial institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank. In addition, the software is only made available to governments that are “trusted” by Israel’s government, which “works closely” with the company. Despite the fact that this firm has been around since 2018 and was covered in detail by this author for MintPress News in January 2020, no mainstream outlet – including those that have extensively covered the NSO Group – has bothered to examine the implications of this story.

Toka was launched in 2018 with the explicit purpose of selling a “tailored ecosystem of cyber capabilities and software products for governmental, law enforcement, and security agencies.” According to a profile of the company published in Forbes shortly after it launched, Toka advertised itself as “a one-stop hacking shop for governments that require extra capability to fight terrorists and other threats to national security in the digital domain.” Toka launched with plans to “provide spy tools for whatever device its clients require,” including not only smartphones but a “special focus on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).” Per the company, this includes devices like Amazon Echo, Google Nest-connected home products, as well as connected fridges, thermostats and alarms.

Exploits in these products discovered by Toka, the company said at the time, would not be disclosed to vendors, meaning those flaws would continue to remain vulnerable to any hacker, whether a client of Toka or not. Today, Toka’s software suite claims to offer its customers in law enforcement, government and intelligence the ability to obtain “targeted intelligence” and to conduct “forensic investigations” as well as “covert operations.” In addition, Toka offers governments its “Cyber Designers” service, which provides “agencies with the full-spectrum strategies, customized projects and technologies needed to keep critical infrastructure, the digital landscape and government institutions secure and durable.”


Julian Assange

Read more …

Good story telling.

The Trillion-Dollar Lie (Taibbi)

Stefanie Gray explains why, as a teenager, she was so anxious to leave her home state of Florida to go to college. “I went to garbage schools and I’m from a garbage low-income suburb where everyone sucks Oxycontin all day,” she says. “I needed to get out.” She got into Hunter College in New York, but both her parents had died and she had nowhere near enough to pay tuition, so she borrowed. “I just had nothing and was poor as hell, so I took out loans,” she says. This being 2006, just a year after the infamous Bankruptcy Bill of 2005 was passed, she believed news stories about student loans being non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. She believed they would be with her for life, or until they were paid off. “My understanding was, it’s better to purchase 55 big-screen TVs on a credit card, and discharge that in a court of law, then be a student who’s getting an education,” she says.

Still, she asked for financial aid: “I was like, ‘My parents are dead, I’m a literal fucking orphan, I have no siblings. I’m just taking out this money to put my ass through school.” Instead of a denial, she got plenty of credit, including a slice of what were called “direct-to-consumer” loans, that came with a whopping 14% interest rate. One of her loans also came from a company called MyRichUncle that, before going bankrupt in 2009, would briefly become famous for running an ad disclosing a kickback system that existed between student lenders and college financial aid offices. Gray was not the cliché undergrad, majoring in underwater basket-weaving with no plan to repay her loans. She took geographical mapping, with the specific aim of getting a paying job quickly. But she graduated in the middle of the post-2008 crash, when “53% of people 18 to 29 were unemployed or underemployed.”

“I couldn’t even get a job scrubbing toilets at a local motel,” she recalls. “They told me straight up that I was over-educated. I was like, “Literally, I’ll do your housekeeping. I don’t give a shit, just let me make money and not get evicted and end up homeless.” The lender Sallie Mae at the time had an amusingly loathsome policy of charging a repeating $150 fee every three months just for the privilege of applying for forbearance. Gray was so pissed about having to pay $50 a month just to say she was broke that she started a change.org petition that ended up gathering 170,000 signatures. She personally delivered those to the offices of Sallie Mae and ended up extracting a compromise out of the firm: they’d still charge the fee, but she could at least apply it to her balance, as opposed to just sticking it in the company’s pocket as an extra. This meager “partial” victory over a student lender was so rare, the New York Times wrote about it.

Gray still owed a ton of student debt — it had ballooned from $36,000 to $77,000 — and collectors were calling her nonstop, perhaps with a little edge thanks to who she was. “They were telling me I should hit up people I know for money, which was one thing,” she recalls. “But when they started talking about giving blood, or selling plasma… I don’t know.” Sallie Mae ultimately sued Gray four times. In doing so, they made a strange error. It might have slipped by, but for luck. “By the grace of God,” Gray said, she met a man in the lobby of a courthouse, a future state Senator named Kevin Thomas, who took a look at her case. “Huh, I’ve got some ideas,” he said, eventually pointing to a problem right at the top of her lawsuit.

Sallie Mae did not represent itself in court as Sallie Mae. The listed plaintiff was “SLM Private Credit Student Loan Trust VL Funding LLC.” As was increasingly the case with mortgages and other forms of debt, student loans by then were typically gathered, pooled, and chopped into slices called tranches, to be marketed to investors. Gray, essentially, was being sued by a tranche of student loan debt, a little like being sued by the coach section of an airline flight. When Thomas advised her to look up the plaintiff’s name, she discovered it wasn’t registered to do business in the State of New York, which prompted the judge to rule that the entity lacked standing to sue. He fined Sallie Mae $10,000 for “nonsense” and gave Gray another rare victory over a student lender, which she ended up writing about herself this time, in The Guardian.

Read more …

The Onion and Babylon Bee need to take a serious look at their business model. What was crazy yesterday no longer is today.

Facebook Cracks Down On Discussing ‘Hoes’ In Gardening Group (NYP)

Facebook’s censors are digging deep — flagging the word “hoe” in a western New York gardening group because they apparently confused the tool for a disparaging term for women. A group called WNY Gardeners has been repeatedly flagged by the social network for “violating community standards,” when its more than 7,500 members discussed the long-handled bladed implement, which is spelled with an “e,” unlike the offensive term. When one member commented “Push pull hoe!” on a post about preferred weeding tools, Facebook sent a notification that read, “We reviewed this comment and found it goes against our standards for harassment and bullying,” a moderator said.

“And so I contacted Facebook, which was useless. How do you do that?,” Elizabeth Licata said. “You know, I said this is a gardening group, a hoe is gardening tool.” Licata said she never a response from the company, but a Facebook representative told The Associated Press that some of the enforcements had been corrected, and an actual person will check supposedly offensive posts in the future before the group is sanctioned or deleted. “We have plans to build out better customer support for our products and to provide the public with even more information about our policies and how we enforce them,” Facebook said in an emailed statement.

The extra set of eyes did not prevent a subsequent post in the group from being automatically disabled because of “possible violence, incitement, or hate in multiple comments,” Licata said. “Kill them all. Drown them in soapy water,” and “Japanese beetles are jerks,” were some comments Facebook deemed offensive, according to the moderator. The gardening group snafu was not Facebook’s first hoe faux pas. This winter, the social network apologized to residents of Plymouth Hoe, an area of the coastal city of Plymouth in England, for repeatedly flagging posts that referenced the seaside attraction. “These posts were removed in error and we apologize to those who were affected. We’re looking into what happened and will take steps to rectify the error,” Facebook said at the time.

Read more …

 

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Conditioned

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seneff spleen

 

 

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Jun 202020
 


Howard Hollem Assembly and Repairs Department Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi 1942

 

Several US States See Coronavirus Infection Spikes (R.)
Mainland China Reports 27 New Coronavirus Cases, Including 22 In Beijing (R.)
US Attorney Berman Refuses To ‘Step Down’ After Barr Asks For Resignation (ZH)
Coronavirus Was Already In Italy By December, Waste Water Study Finds (BBC)
Trump Admin To Name Most Recipients Of Bailout Loans (ZH)
The Crisis Goes Up A Gear (Macleod)
House GOP Leader: Democratic Party Should Change Its Name (JTN)

 

 

I am definitely not in my normal morning rhythm today (hence only 7 articles in today’s aggregator). Part of that may be due to meeting up with some friends in Athens yesterday, but that’s certainly not the whole story. Athens is still mainly deserted, by the way, which is kind of nice and refreshing, but also very obviously hurtful to many people’s incomes.

But what really bumped me off my rhythm is reading the stories, and reactions to them, about AG Barr asking US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geffrey Berman to resign, and the latter refusing to comply. Reading through all the related articles had one notion, one fear, creep up on me: that the US is at a serious risk of becoming ungovernable. And I mean: serious.

Whoever wins on November 4, Trump or Biden(?!), may well be unacceptable and unaccepted by half the country. And what happens then? Are we going to have a civil war? I’ll get back to that soon. It’s not like this is the first time it ever occurred to me, but it has gained a lot of weight -and risk- lately.

 

 

I thought maybe I had erred yesterday when my count of new cases was so much higher than Worldometer. Instead, they are even higher.

Worldometer reports new cases for June 19 (midnight to midnight GMT+0) at + 181,005.

My count 6AM EDT to 6AM EDT based on Worldometer numbers is 184,233. Have we entered a new phase?

 

 

 

 

New cases past 24 hours in:

• US + 30,810
• Brazil + 54,771
• Russia + 7,790
• India + 14,721
• Pakistan +8,466
• Mexico + 5,662

 

 

Brazil was scary:

 

 

Cases 8,786,592 (+ 184,233 from yesterday’s 8,602,359)

Deaths 463,156 (+ 6,354 from yesterday’s 456,802)

 

 

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

I forgot to take a screen shot last night.

 

From Worldometer:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pandemic in the US is very far from over. Forget about that trip to Europe.

Several US States See Coronavirus Infection Spikes (R.)

Troubling spikes in coronavirus infection rates were reported on Friday in several U.S. states, mainly in the South and West, a day before President Donald Trump was due to preside over an Oklahoma campaign rally that will be America’s largest indoor gathering in months. Wall Street jitters over a resurgence in COVID-19 cases as states moved to reopen long-stifled commerce and ease social-distancing measures helped drive down major U.S. stock indexes, reversing earlier gains. Experts say expanded diagnostic testing accounts for some, but not all, of the growth in cases – numbering at least 2.23 million nationwide on Friday – and that the mounting volume of infections was elevating hospitalizations in some places.

“Clearly the cases are rising rapidly. It’s not just a matter of testing more,” said Dr. Murtaza Akhter, an emergency room physician at Arizona hospitals, noting the lag time between a positive test and severe illness or death. “The real concern is what is coming up for us in the next week or two.” He said the latest wave of cases has put Arizona’s major hospitals at or near capacity, and placed the Southwestern state on track to surpass New York at its peak on a per-capita basis. More than 119,000 Americans have perished from COVID-19 to date, according to Reuters’ running tally. Particularly alarming has been the upward trends several states are reporting in the percentage of positive tests among individuals who are screened, a metric experts refer to as the positivity rate.

The World Health Organization considers positivity rates above 5% to be especially concerning, and widely watched data from Johns Hopkins University shows 16 states with average rates over the past week exceeding that level and climbing.

Read more …

Still don’t really understand how they missed this for so long.

Mainland China Reports 27 New Coronavirus Cases, Including 22 In Beijing (R.)

Mainland China reported 27 new coronavirus cases as of the end of June 19, 22 of which were reported in the capital Beijing, China’s National Health Commission said on Saturday. This compared with 32 confirmed cases a day earlier, 25 of which were in Beijing, where local authorities are working to contain a new outbreak at a food wholesale market. Another seven asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, those who are infected with the coronavirus but show no symptoms, were also reported as of June 19 compared with five a day earlier. China does not count these patients as confirmed cases.

Read more …

Berman is a Republican who contributed to the Trump campaign. And, like Bolton, the DNC and MSM’s best new friend.

US Attorney Berman Refuses To ‘Step Down’ After Barr Asks For Resignation (ZH)

Geffrey Berman is refusing to step down as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York after Attorney General William Barr asked him to resign, according to Bloomberg. “I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” said Berman, adding “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. “I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate… …Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.” Reacting to the news, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said “This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process.”

[..] A Republican who contributed to Trump’s campaign, Berman was considered a highly qualified pick to succeed Preet Bharara, the previous occupant of his Berman’s soon-to-be-former office, which also features heavily in the TV show “Billions” (it’s the position held by the show’s antagonist, a corrupt federal prosecutor). AG Barr didn’t offer much in the way of an explanation, and Berman hasn’t said much either. Then again, we’re only just finding out about this, and it’s 10pmET on a holiday Friday. But even more surprising than the news of Berman’s sudden departure is the news of who will take his place. Following a brief interlude, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton will become the next US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

For those who aren’t familiar, Clayton is the same man who almost allowed Hertz and its creditors to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of stock to unsuspecting Robinhood day traders trying to flip their stimulus checks for quick cash with nary a word from the SEC. But even more extraordinary than his handling of the Hertz situation is Clayton’s decision to allow Tesla CEO Elon Musk walk away from a dispute with the SEC in which the CEO flagrantly and blithely violated basic securities regulations involving disclosures of material information to the public (remember “funding secured?” and the tedious legal melodrama that ensued in which Musk, in full blown tantrum mode, was repeatedly appeased by government regulators seemingly robbed of all willingness to hold him accountable).

Read more …

How many countries are doing similar studies? Could be revealing.

Coronavirus Was Already In Italy By December, Waste Water Study Finds (BBC)

Italian scientists say sewage water from two cities contained coronavirus traces in December, long before the country’s first confirmed cases. The National Institute of Health (ISS) said water from Milan and Turin showed genetic virus traces on 18 December. It adds to evidence from other countries that the virus may have been circulating much earlier than thought. Chinese officials confirmed the first cases at the end of December. Italy’s first case was in mid-February. In May French scientists said tests on samples showed a patient treated for suspected pneumonia near Paris on 27 December actually had the coronavirus.


Meanwhile in Spain a study found virus traces in waste water collected in mid-January in Barcelona, some 40 days before the first local case was discovered. In their study, ISS scientists examined 40 sewage samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy between last October and February. Samples from October and November came back negative, showing that the virus had not yet arrived, ISS water quality expert Giuseppina La Rosa said. Waste water from Bologna began showing traces of the virus in January. The findings could help scientists understand how the virus began spreading in Italy, Ms La Rosa said. However she said the research did not “automatically imply that the main transmission chains that led to the development of the epidemic in our country originated from these very first cases”.

Read more …

Go Tyler!

Gee, Barry Ritholtz has no clothes on.

Trump Admin To Name Most Recipients Of Bailout Loans (ZH)

When the government said it would give out thousands of dollars in bailout loans grants under the Paycheck Protection Program, every eligible business – which was most small and medium businesses (that had no access to capital markets) with up to 500 employees, signed up. And why not: it was free money from a government that had launched helicopter money, and was seeking to ram the newly created money into the economy. There was no downside – the grants would be forgiven if used to pay wages or rent, and – at least according to widespread speculation – the loans would remain a secret. Which is why it was so surprising when it emerged that some “asset managers” such as Ritholtz Asset Management, led by Josh Brown and Barry Ritholtz, had also accepted bailout grants to stay in business. In retrospect, Ritholtz is the author of Bailout Nation so it probably should not have been a surprise.

What should have been a surprise is that an asset manager – i.e., a professional collecting generous fees to predict the future and entrusted with billions in capital not only failed to do that, but himself needed a bailout. It just goes to show how important it is to pick very calm and patient clients. Of course, we can’t blame them: like most other recipients, Ritholtz probably expected that his name would never see the light of day, even though technically he used taxpayer money to prop up his company. And since it is taxpayer money, everyone has a right to know how it would be used. Only in the case of just over half a trillion dollars in PPP grants that wasn’t the case, because for nearly 3 months after the PPP program was launched, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin persisted in keeping the names of all recipients secret, much to the growing anger of those who effectively funded the loans.

That all changed late on Friday, when Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration said it would disclose details about companies that received loans of $150,000 or more from a coronavirus relief program for small businesses, following a backlash against its earlier refusal to release data about which firms got billions of dollars in government aid. Eleven news organizations had sued to make details about PPP loan recipients public. Which is bad news for all those “financial advisors” like Ritholtz who will soon be revealed as getting paid to “predict” the future, yet not having the sense to even budget for a short-term crisis, let along have hedges in place for a downside scenario. As for the rest, it’s unclear how willing most small businesses would have been had they known that the very act of requesting a bailout would open them up to eventual public shaming.

Read more …

It has become useless to discuss the Fed at the same time you discuss markets. The former killed the latter.

The Crisis Goes Up A Gear (Macleod)

The early morning of Monday, 23 March was a significant time, marking the top of the dollar’s trade-weighted index. At the same time, gold, silver and copper prices, having fallen in the weeks before turned sharply higher. And while oil initially followed, it was a month before it resumed its uptrend — delayed by the delivery hiatus in the futures markets which briefly drove the price negative. The S&P 500 rallied the following day, ending a near 30% decline before recovering all of it, and then some. Something had changed. Either markets decided that economic growth, both in the US and the rest of the world was going to continue following lockdowns, and growing demand for key commodities was going to be resumed. Or, as the decline in the dollar’s TWI indicated, the purchasing power of the dollar was going to decline, and commodity prices were reflecting an accelerating downtrend for the dollar’s purchasing power.

The performance of the S&P 500 since 23 March, being unhinged from any business conditions, gives us a clue: the flood of money emanating from the Fed is fuelling stock prices. It is also fuelling prices of all other financial assets. The turnaround in silver is a more subtle story, shown in the chart as the reciprocal of the more usual gold/silver ratio. Silver had been ignored, classed solely as an industrial metal. Gold was seen by the financial community as the only metallic hedge against uncertainty in the financial system. That changed on 23 March when the gold/silver ratio peaked at 125 on the previous business day. It is now beginning to outperform gold with the gold/silver ratio currently down to 98. We might look back and pinpoint this time as marking the beginning of a return to some moneyness in silver.

The weeks before had seen the Fed ease monetary policy. On 3 March, the Fed cut its funds rate from 1,5% to 1%. In the accompanying announcement the Fed said that the fundamentals of the economy remained strong, but the coronavirus posed evolving risks to the economy. On 15 March, the Fed cut its funds rate again, this time to zero, but the statement now said the coronavirus had harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the US. On a twelve-month basis, overall price inflation and price increases for other than food and energy were running at below 2%. The Fed announced renewed quantitative easing of at least $500bn of Treasury purchases and $200bn of mortgage-backed securities “in the coming months”. It was “prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.”

Read more …

How many people know the history behind the Democratic Party?

House GOP Leader: Democratic Party Should Change Its Name (JTN)

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy suggested Thursday that the Democratic Party change its name, considering its ties to the Confederacy and segregation laws. The comments by McCarthy, the chamber’s top Republican, follow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she wants to remove Confederate-era statues from the Capitol, most of which honor registered Democrats. Pelosi, a California Democrat, on Thursday announced the removal of four portraits of former House speakers – three Democrats and one a Whig who later registered as a Democratic. “The speaker has the power to do that,” McCarthy said when asked about the portrait removal.


“If the speaker is concerned about that, should she also start talking about changing the name of her party and actually changing the nominee?” The California Republican also said that Pelosi should be “really concerned about the history of her party and what her party has done so shouldn’t they change the name if they’re going to be different?” McCarthy went further and said the Democrats should consider changing Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential nominee, given his remarks at the funeral of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), a former member of the KKK who later denounced the group. Biden referred to Byrd as a “mentor” and “dear friend” at his funeral when he was vice president. McCarthy called on Pelosi to apply the “same standards” for the portrait removals to the name of her party and its 2020 nominee. “Shouldn’t they change the nominee if they want to be different?” McCarthy asked.

Read more …

 

 

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Word is Biden is close to picking Rice.

 

 

Steve Keen

 

 

Bob Dylan released his new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, yesterday. This is where the title comes from.

And these are some of the lyrics of the song Mother of Muses:

4 famous US generals – plus Georgi Zhukov, who led the Soviet Red Army’s assault on Nazi Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mar 302020
 


L.S. Lowry The mill, Pendlebury 1943

 

Dr. Fauci Says 200,000 Americans Could Die From The Coronavirus (MW)
Trump: Keeping US COVID-19 Deaths To 100,000 Would Be A ‘Very Good Job’ (G.)
Coronavirus Patients In UK Intensive Care Have 50% Survival Rate (G.)
What We Still Need To Know (Stat)
FDA Gives Emergency Approval To Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine (Solomon)
FDA Greenlights COVID-19 Point-of-Care Test (Y!)
Trump In The Time Of COVID-19: Slashing Red Tape Again Like He Was 39 (JTN)
Italy Says Europe Needs ‘Great Marshall Plan’ To Battle Pandemic Crisis (RT)
Two Gene Tweaks That Turned COVID-19 Into A Killer (Age)
US Health Care Failed To Heed Repeated Warnings Of Supply Shortages (JTN)
Italians Wait For The Coronavirus Surge To Finally Peak (MW)
Six Months Before We Can Return To ‘Normal Life’ (Ind.)
DoJ Reviews Stock Trades By Lawmakers After Coronavirus Briefings (R.)
Forced Liquidation (Kunstler)
Astrophysicist Gets Magnets Stuck Up Nose While Inventing Virus Device (G.)

 

 

Something I’ll try to write a separate article about later today, but that I would like to leave you with for now: Dr. Fauci, Trump’s main medical/epidemic advisor, said yesterday that 200,000 Americans could die from COVID19. The same Fauci, as I quoted two days ago, recently changed his case fatality rate prediction from 1% to 0.1%.

I had to let that sink in for a while, because if those 200,000 people represent that 0.1%, he now apparently believes that 200 million Americans could be infected with the coronavirus. The offical number of infected Americans right now according to Worldometer is 142,735. The offical death number is 2,489.

On top of that, Trump said, undoubtedly after conferring with Fauci among others, that the coronavirus peak in the USA is expected to take place in two weeks (Easter). You get where I’m going with this: how on earth are the numbers supposed to add up? In proven Trumpian fashion, Fauci did cover himself: “We’re going to have millions of cases.” But he added “I don’t want to be held to that” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.“ We’re going to have millions of cases, but don’t hold me to that…

I think most people see these numbers flash by without realizing what they mean.

 

 

Cases 734,931 (+ 57,283 from yesterday’s 677,648)

Deaths 34,780 (+ 3,043 from yesterday’s 31,737)

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 18% –

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID2019Live.info: (Note: Spain already has twice as many deaths as China, it will pass it in total cases too in a bit. Oh wait, it did as I wrote that)

 

 

 

 

Wonder if he’s included the effects of a health care system collapse. Ironically, that might make his numbers more realistic.

Dr. Fauci Says 200,000 Americans Could Die From The Coronavirus (MW)

The coronavirus outbreak could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert warned on Sunday as smoldering hot spots in nursing homes and a growing list of stricken cities heightened the sense of dread across the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the dire prediction of fatalities on CNN, adding that millions in the U.S. could become infected. “I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases,” he said, correcting himself to say he meant deaths. “We’re going to have millions of cases.” But he added “I don’t want to be held to that” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.”


By evening, the U.S. had over 135,000 infections and 2,400 deaths, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases is thought to be considerably higher because of testing shortages and mild illnesses that have gone unreported. Worldwide, more than 710,000 infections were reported, and deaths topped 33,000, half of them in Italy and Spain, where hospitals are swamped and the health system is at the breaking point. New York state — where the death toll closed in on 1,000, up by more than 200 from the day before — remained the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, with the vast majority of the deaths in New York City. But spikes in infections were recorded around the country, not only in metropolitan areas but in Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens.


Graph by Mike Shedlock based on data from Covid Tracking Project.

Read more …

A shutdown, not a lockdown, extended to April 30.

Trump: Keeping US COVID-19 Deaths To 100,000 Would Be A ‘Very Good Job’ (G.)

Donald Trump has extended America’s national shutdown for a month, bowing to public health experts, and scientific reality, and warning that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, the US president claimed that, if his administration keeps the death toll to 100,000, it will have done “a very good job” – a startling shift from his optimistic predictions of a few days ago when he said he hoped to restart the economy by Easter. Trump also undermined his plea for unity by uttering falsehoods, verbally abusing reporters and making incendiary allegations that implied health care workers were stealing masks, without providing evidence.

The extended deadline marked a humiliating retreat for the president who, having squandered six precious weeks at the start of the pandemic, more recently complained that the cure is worse than the problem and floated Easter Sunday as a “beautiful timeline” for reopening big swathes of the country. On Sunday he claimed this had only been “aspirational” as his advisers urged him not to move too hastily. He announced the initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government, which was due to expire on Monday, would be extended to 30 April, and said he hoped normality might return by 1 June.

The guidelines recommend against big group gatherings and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay at home. People were also urged to work at home when possible and avoid restaurants, bars, non-essential travel and shopping trips. “The modelling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump told reporters, with the toll already at more than 2,400. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all.”

Read more …

This is scary. Very. Add that 50% to all the people who are not admitted to an ICU in the first place, because their survival chances are deemed too low.

Coronavirus Patients In UK Intensive Care Have 50% Survival Rate (G.)

The mortality rate for patients put in intensive care after being infected with Covid-19 is running at close to 50%, a report has revealed. Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) showed that of 165 patients treated in critical care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the end of February, 79 died, while 86 survived and were discharged. The figures were taken from an audit of 775 people who have been or are in critical care with the disease, across 285 intensive care units. The remaining 610 patients continue to receive intensive care. The high death rate raises questions about how effective critical care will be in saving the lives of people struck down by the disease.

As a top priority, the NHS is opening field hospitals in London, Birmingham and Manchester, which will incorporate some of the biggest critical care units ever seen in Britain. “The truth is that quite a lot of these individuals [in critical care] are going to die anyway and there is a fear that we are just ventilating them for the sake of it, for the sake of doing something for them, even though it won’t be effective. That’s a worry,” one doctor said. The report also found that though the majority of those who have died from coronavirus across the UK were over 70, nine of the 79 who died in intensive care were aged between 16 and 49, as were 28 of the 86 who survived.

The audit suggested that men are at much higher risk from the virus – seven in ten of all ICU patients were male, while 30% of men in critical care were under 60, compared to just 15% of women. Excess weight also appears to be a significant risk factor; over 70% of patients were overweight, obese or clinically obese on the body mass index scale. [..] The former health minister Dan Poulter, who works as a psychiatrist in wards with many cases of the virus, says widespread testing could be a “game-changer” that would prevent staff who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus from passing it on to patients in hospital for other reasons.

Widespread testing of those who are self-isolating with mild symptoms would also allow them to get back to work if they tested negative. Writing in the Observer, Poulter says: “NHS staff sickness levels are already high, and they are only going to increase as the Covid-19 outbreak intensifies. “Many of us are also worried that we may be infected, yet asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) and therefore could be a potential risk to our patients, colleagues and families. That is the last thing that we would want, but we simply do not know.

Read more …

Long article, good snippet.

Asymptomatic, presymptomatic, paucisymptomatic, 40+% of cases is transmitted before symptoms develop. Much of this can be prevented if people wear masks, which should be worn to protect others, not -just- yourself. But that’s not what people are made to think they’re for. And anyway, where are the masks? There was a news item in Holland yesterday that 500,000 masks purchased from China and sent to hospitals had been returned because they were no good at all.

What We Still Need To Know (Stat)

When people have a disease that is only contagious once they start to get sick, it’s much easier to order them to isolate themselves the moment they feel unwell. But that doesn’t work with this virus. A number of studies have reported that a significant portion of people are even spreading the virus while presymptomatic — in the day or two before they start to feel ill. Presymptomatic spreaders are, well, gonna spread. It’s not their fault. (It’s also why safe physical distancing — the preferred term for what you’ve seen described as social distancing — is important. It reduces the risk of presymptomatic spread.) How much this type of transmission is driving the pandemic is unclear but it could be significant.

Gabriel Leung, dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, has estimated about 40% of cases transmit before symptoms develop. A recent preprint — a study that has not yet been peer-reviewed — from China pooled data from seven countries and estimated a very similar 43%. Unless public health authorities can find all — or at least most — cases and then quarantine the vast majority of their contacts, it’s hard to see how this kind of transmission can be stopped. Likewise, a big portion of cases, perhaps as many as 40%, have very mild symptoms. Some people who had no idea they were infected have tested positive. Italian authorities say 6% of people there who have tested positive had no symptoms and another 12% were — barely symptomatic. It’s still unclear, though, how often these people spread the virus to others.

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”..Sandoz and Bayer, had donated 31 million doses of the two medicines to the government’s emergency stockpile..”

FDA Gives Emergency Approval To Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine (Solomon)

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday gave doctors emergency permission to use the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat the coronavirus. The agency’s action allows the medicines “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” according to a Department of Health and Human Services statement. “Although there are no currently approved treatments for COVID-19, both drugs have shown activity in laboratory studies against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).


Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Clinical trials are needed to provide scientific evidence that these treatments are effective,” HHS said in making the announcement. Officials also announced that two drugmakers, Sandoz and Bayer, had donated 31 million doses of the two medicines to the government’s emergency stockpile to be used by doctors. Medical research dating to 2003 has suggested the two drugs might be helpful in fighting coronavirus symptoms, and President Trump as well as several foreign allies have promoted their use as a potential break-though. But the medical community never completed formal clinical trials, which only began in recent weeks and will take months to complete.

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See, when I read: “The time for a positive result is 5 minutes, and a negative result will return in 13 minutes”, I can’t help wondering what happens in the intervening 8 minutes. One long drumroll?

FDA Greenlights COVID-19 Point-of-Care Test (Y!)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use for a portable, fast, swab test for the coronavirus Friday which can provide results in less than 15 minutes. The IDNOW, from Abbott (ABT), is the first approved portable test and allows for an existing testing instrument used in 18,000 locations around the U.S.,to be used at a point-of-care in doctor’s offices, urgent care and hospitals. This same instrument is already used for flu and strep swabs. It also has the potential to be used at drive-thru tests, according to company officials.


Norman Moore, Abbott’s director of infectious diseases and scientific affairs, told Yahoo Finance that the device can also be used in parking-lot testing facilities currently being used by urgent care facilities. The device weighs 6.6 pounds and tests a swab taken from the nose or throat, using a cartridge made by Abbott. The time for a positive result is 5 minutes, and a negative result will return in 13 minutes. Abbott will be able to provide 50,000 tests by April 1 and will be able to provide 1 million per month of this test, Moore said. ‘The more we can test, the better we can isolate those that need to be isolated,” Moore said.

Read more …

Stephanie Gutmann in full-out praise of Trump. I just can’t help myself from poking the Orange Man Bad crowd.

On the other side of the Orange spectrum, you had Chuck Todd ask Joe Biden if Trump has blood on his hands. Even Biden wouldn’t touch that one.

Todd just makes sure America remains a house divided. Because that sells.

Trump In The Time Of COVID-19: Slashing Red Tape Again Like He Was 39 (JTN)

In Washington, leaders typically respond to crises by expanding federal power — drafting new laws and regulations, leaning heavily on federal muscle. The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing President Trump to be a different kind of animal, with instincts and alliances that were forged over years in the private sector, where initiatives tend to move faster and finding creative ways to save money is considered a bragging point. (After all, it is usually one’s own money.) If the president’s popular approval ratings are reaching new highs, it may be due in part to the Trump the public is seeing on display at the daily briefings of his Coronavirus Task Force. This Trump represents in many ways a return to form for the president, a rebirth of the hard-driving, can-do developer who famously slashed through red tape to restore New York’s iconic Wollman Skating Rink under budget and ahead of schedule 34 years ago.

The president has assembled a Coronavirus Task Force studded with federal agency heads like Dr. Stephen Hahn of the FDA, but their marching orders are clear. As National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed it in a Task Force briefing back on March 13: “We’re going to be able to remove the constraints so that people at the state and the local level — the individual physician all the way up through the federal government … [are able] to do everything they possibly can.” Indeed, the medical equipment shortage which has so panicked health care workers from the onset of the crisis often seems to be largely logistical. In other words, a lot of the ventilators and masks are out there — just in unexpected and formerly off-limits places.

With a more liberated FDA and CDC, there’s a whole lotta creative repurposing going on. Animal hospitals, for instance, are full of ventilators — and they are just like the kind humans use. “Many people on the human side don’t realize we use ventilators on animals,” a vet told ABC News. “They hadn’t even thought that that would be a place to look.” But on March 22, the FDA sent out omnibus emergency guidance on ventilators and other respiratory devices, which included permission for ventilators to be “used outside of traditional use.” News reports of veterinary hospitals shipping ventilators to human hospitals promptly began to proliferate. More ventilators (or ventilator-type machinery) may come from the anesthesiology department down the hall from the ICU.

It turns out that anesthesia gas machines — the kind that keep patients asleep during surgery — can be converted to supply oxygen to conscious patients. That use has now been approved by the FDA, qualified with a recommendation that they be operated or supervised by anesthesia providers “because of significant differences between the anesthesia gas machine and traditional critical care ventilators.” In guidance issued on March 2 the FDA opened up supplies of the coveted N95 face mask. “Why on God’s green earth can I go to Target and buy these items when so many hospitals are running out?” railed one doctor to the New York Times when he found a box of N95s in the construction supply section of an Illinois Walmart.

Read more …

Simple: Germany and Holland are keeping corona bonds from happening, southern Europe is getting angrier about that by the day.

Italy Says Europe Needs ‘Great Marshall Plan’ To Battle Pandemic Crisis (RT)

Italy’s economy minister has clashed with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen after she said that the EU is not planning to issue ‘corona bonds’ to help countries decimated by Covid-19. “The commission president’s words were a mistake and I regret that she made them,” Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri told reporters at a news conference on Saturday, stressing that Europe needs “a great Marshall Plan” to keep its economy afloat. The historic Marshall Plan was a massive US-led economic aid package to rebuild Western Europe after the devastation of WWII. Italy proposed that Brussels issue so-called ‘corona bonds,’ a common debt instrument aimed at funding the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has made a significant dent in Europe’s economies by forcing businesses to shut down due to quarantine measures.

In an interview with DPA, von der Leyen did not rule out the idea of ‘corona bonds’ but said that they were “not the plan” the EU was working on. “The word corona bond is actually just a buzzword,” she said. The option was similarly dismissed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that creating ‘corona bonds’ was “not… the view of all EU countries.” Von der Leyen’s words raised some eyebrows not only in Rome but inside the European Parliament, whose leader David Sassoli immediately asked the European Commission chief to clarify her stance. Italy has been hit hardest by the coronavirus within the EU, with nearly 92,500 confirmed cases and over 10,000 deaths. On Saturday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte unveiled a €4.3 billion ($4.79 billion) stimulus package to help local authorities and regular citizens survive through the pandemic.

The ECB, in turn, pledged to spend €750 billion ($836.2 billion) in bond purchases. However, officials in Italy and Spain, which is the second-hardest hit EU nation, insisted that a more common approach is needed. “This is a crisis that is affecting all of the EU. We need to articulate a grand Marshall Plan of reconstruction,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last week, after the ECB plan was released.

Read more …

Long article returns to the bat/pangolin route. But still taking that as gospel today seems a bit out of sync.

Two Gene Tweaks That Turned COVID-19 Into A Killer (Age)

[..] CoV-2 wants to do two things: bind to a human cell and then get inside it. The virus binds to a cellular receptor – think of them as little antennae that stick off the side of human cells – called ACE2. ACE2 receptors are designed to listen for signals that change our blood pressure. Fine adjustments to blood pressure are really important in our lungs, so our lung cells are covered in ACE2 receptors. SARS was able to bind to ACE2. But small genetic changes mean CoV-2 binds almost perfectly, at least 10 times more tightly than SARS. “It’s beautifully adapted to do that,” says Holmes. But that’s not enough. Once CoV-2 is stuck on a cell, it needs to get in. That’s where the second tweak comes in.

CoV-2 is covered in spikes. They act like tiny harpoons. The virus needs to stick to the cell and then fire a harpoon. The harpoon pulls the surface of the cell and the virus together, allowing them to fuse. That’s how the virus gets inside. “But you don’t want the harpoon firing off randomly,” says Professor Stephen Turner, head of microbiology at Monash University. “You only want it to fire when it’s ready to infect the cell. If it’s going off too early or too late, the virus would not be able to infect us.” To trigger the harpoon at just the right time, viruses rely on human enzymes, little proteins in our blood. Some enzymes trigger the harpoon too early, others trigger it too late.

Among the best enzyme triggers – the one that fires the harpoon at exactly the right time – is an enzyme called furin. Our bodies produce heaps of furin. “Basically, you can work out if a virus is going to be highly pathogenic or not if it is activated by furin,” says Turner. Bird flu is triggered by furin. We got lucky, though, because it wasn’t very good at sticking to our cells. CoV-2 is great at sticking to our cells. And it’s triggered by furin, among the best triggers a virus can have. “The combination is what makes it so infectious,” says Turner. How does a bat virus pick up these tricks?

Bats live essentially symbiotic relationships with their viruses. The viruses don’t want to kill the bats, because then they’d have nowhere to live. When scientists test bats, they find lots of different viruses but at very low levels. “Often it’s really difficult to find a virus in a bat,” says Baker. And these viruses are, in evolutionary terms, very stable. They don’t change much. It is unlikely RaTG13 turned into SARS-CoV-2 within a bat, Baker says. But things change when a bat virus jumps to another animal.

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Health care for profit.

US Health Care Failed To Heed Repeated Warnings Of Supply Shortages (JTN)

As the Bush administration entered its final months in office, its Occupation Safety and Health Administration examined whether hospitals were prepared to protect frontline doctors and nurses in the event of a catastrophic viral pandemic. The nation was four years removed from the scare of the SARS coronavirus and two years removed from the creation of a national pandemic plan designed to heighten awareness and preparedness. What OSHA found was not only alarming, but prescient to the crisis America now endures in 2020. “It is expected that there will be a worldwide shortage of respirators if and when a pandemic occurs. Employers and employees should not count on obtaining any additional protective equipment not already purchased and stockpiled,” OSHA warned in a report.

OSHA’s warning to stockpile was not an isolated event. A Just the News review found more than a dozen government investigations, congressional reports and pandemic preparedness reviews dating to the 1990s warned that America’s health care system was woefully unprepared for a fast-moving outbreak. But the pleas of stockpiles, better training, better coordination and more testing of potential remedies fell on the deaf ears of policymakers, congressional overseers and hospital administrators and the chronic inertia in Washington, according to experts who raised the alarm.

“Hospitals were focused on their bottom lines to make more money and not addressing an issue that was going to cost them money in the long run and save lives,” said former Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., who called attention to the gaps in America’s pandemic preparedness with hearings. “Everyone knew from the White House to Congress – Democrats and Republicans – everyone knew this was becoming a very serious problem.” The tragic scenes playing out in emergency rooms in New York and elsewhere, where nurses are making gowns from garbage bags and doctors are washing used respirator masks in bleach in hopes of sterilizing and recycling them, did not have to be, as The New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo aptly noted a few days ago.

“The answer to why we’re running out of protective gear involves a very American set of capitalist pathologies — the rise and inevitable lure of low-cost overseas manufacturing, and a strategic failure, at the national level and in the healthcare industry, to consider seriously the cascading vulnerabilities that flowed from the incentives to reduce costs,” the columnist wrote. The crisis sweeping America was not one of surprise. The warnings and plannings were repeatedly offered. The crisis is one of past inaction, the experts say.

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“In a few short weeks, everything has changed — people’s habits, their hobbies, their social life, their reality. School corridors lie empty. Paintings in art classes are left unfinished.”

Italians Wait For The Coronavirus Surge To Finally Peak (MW)

Our world has been turned outside in. It’s now almost six weeks since the university in Milan has been closed, and three weeks since the official lockdown was announced. We have daily music lessons in the bedroom, English lessons in the kitchen and high-school classes in the living room. As a language teacher, I have been literally run off my fingers. Moving courses online has been a mammoth task, and there have been barely enough hours in the day to get things done. But now, six weeks in, the workload is finally easing off. The number of coronavirus contagions here in Italy, on the other hand, is not. My area of Lombardy is still the worst affected, accounting for over a third of the 97,689 nationwide cases to date, with 969 deaths reported in just one day.

The peak we had been expecting two weeks ago has yet to arrive and, according to Silvio Brusaferro, Commissario Straordinario of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, warned Friday, “We have neither reached it, nor surpassed it.” There are the faintest glimmers of hope. The number of confirmed cases reached 97,689 on Sunday, up from 92,472 the day before. That was the lowest increase in infections since last Wednesday. The rise in the number of deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, slowed on Sunday for the second consecutive day. As of Sunday, the virus has killed 10,779 people in Italy, accounting for one-third of the worldwide total number of fatalities (33,968), and is more than three times the number of deaths from the virus in the U.S. (2,489).


“The measures that were due to expire on April 3 inevitably will be extended,” Regional affairs minister Francesco Boccia told Sky TG24 television on Sunday. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will ultimately make that decision, he said. People are, for the most part, resigned to the fact that they have to wait the lockdown out. Some people who have relatives who tested positive or are in high-risk groups are going into extended quarantine, so still having to rely on friends and family to replenish their supplies.

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Well, we can dream.

Six Months Before We Can Return To ‘Normal Life’ (Ind.)

Britain has been braced to expect a partial lockdown of society “for six months or longer”, following another sharp rise in the number of coronavirus deaths. Only “some” of the harsh restrictions will be lifted in the weeks to come, the deputy chief medical officer warned – even if a review after Easter judged they are working. “Three weeks for review, two or three months to see if we’ve really squashed it,” Dr Jenny Harries told a Downing Street press conference. “But three to six months, ideally – but lots of uncertainty in that – to see at which point we can actually get back to normal. And it is plausible it could go further than that.”

In a bleak message – on the day a further 209 deaths were announced, taking the UK total to 1,228 – the deputy chief medical officer warned it would be “dangerous” to revert to normal too quickly. “If we stop, then all of our efforts will be wasted and we could potentially see a second peak,” she urged the public to recognise. The comments came as Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said all parts of the UK were now on an “emergency footing”, a status unprecedented in peacetime. [..] Ms Harries said that, although the review would take place after Easter, it would then be two to three months before it was possible to judge if the NHS had “squashed the peak” of coronavirus cases.

“We anticipate our numbers will get worse over the next week, possibly two, and then we are looking to see whether we have managed to push that curve down and we start to see a decline,” she told the press conference. “This is not to say we would be in complete lockdown for six months, but, as a nation, we have to be really, really responsible and keep doing what we’re all doing until we’re sure we can gradually start lifting various interventions.” That lifting would be “spaced, based on the science and our data, until we gradually come back to a normal way of living”.

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How was it again? They can’t be prosecuted while sitting?

DoJ Reviews Stock Trades By Lawmakers After Coronavirus Briefings (R.)

The Justice Department has started to probe a series of stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of the sharp market downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported on Sunday, citing two people familiar with the matter. The inquiry is still in its early stages and being done in coordination with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the report. The FBI has reached out to at least one lawmaker, U.S. Republican Senator Richard Burr, seeking information about the trades, CNN reported, citing one of the sources. Earlier this month, Burr said he relied solely on news reports to guide decisions on stock sales, amid reports he and other senators sold off shares after being briefed on the risks of the coronavirus crisis.

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“Perhaps the key is how long the ordinary folk agree to their orderly confinement..”

Forced Liquidation (Kunstler)

The world is locked down and in hock up to its eyeballs. It faces what the bankers euphemistically call, ahem, a “work-out,” which is to say, a restructuring. The folks in charge are resisting that work-out with all their might, because it will change many of the conditions of everyday life (especially theirs), but it is coming anyway. When debt can’t be paid back, money vanishes. Money isn’t capital, but it represents capital when it is functioning. When it isn’t functioning, it stops being money. Now the whole world realizes that the debt can’t be paid back, will never be paid back… and that’s the jig that’s up.

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is the black hole in the financial universe where money goes to die. Money is rushing in there at a fantastic rate these days, and the Fed is trying to spew out new money at an equal rate to replace it – raising the question: is it even money anymore, or just a figment in the larger hallucination? Kind of seems that way, a little bit. They brought out their biggest money-launching bazookas only a few days ago, and it may only be few days more before that gigantic salvo proves inadequate. What then?

Perhaps the key is how long the ordinary folk agree to their orderly confinement, even in the face of the corona virus. That moment may be a bit further out, with the melodrama mounting especially in New York City right now, numbers of sick people going all hockey-stick, and frightful scenes in the hospitals. But then, whether it’s a week from now, or Easter Sunday, or sometime after that, what will the ordinary folk do when they decide en masse to de-confine and come roaring out in the streets?

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Hey, hey, there’ll be no shooting the messenger. I didn’t write this. Or do it.

Astrophysicist Gets Magnets Stuck Up Nose While Inventing Virus Device (G.)

An Australian astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck up his nose in an attempt to invent a device that stops people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak. Dr Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at Melbourne’s Swinburne University, was building a necklace that sounds an alarm on facial contact, when the mishap occurred on Thursday night. The 27 year-old astrophysicist, who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, said he was trying to liven up the boredom of self-isolation with the four powerful neodymium magnets. “I have some electronic equipment but really no experience or expertise in building circuits or things,” he told Guardian Australia.

“I had a part that detects magnetic fields. I thought that if I built a circuit that could detect the magnetic field, and we wore magnets on our wrists, then it could set off an alarm if you brought it too close to your face. A bit of boredom in isolation made me think of that.” However, the academic realised the electronic part he had did the opposite – and would only complete a circuit when there was no magnetic field present. “I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face,” he said. “After scrapping that idea, I was still a bit bored, playing with the magnets. It’s the same logic as clipping pegs to your ears – I clipped them to my earlobes and then clipped them to my nostril and things went downhill pretty quickly when I clipped the magnets to my other nostril.”

Reardon said he placed two magnets inside his nostrils, and two on the outside. When he removed the magnets from the outside of his nose, the two inside stuck together. Unfortunately, the researcher then attempted to use his remaining magnets to remove them. “At this point, my partner who works at a hospital was laughing at me,” he said. “I was trying to pull them out but there is a ridge at the bottom of my nose you can’t get past. “After struggling for 20 minutes, I decided to Google the problem and found an article about an 11-year-old boy who had the same problem. The solution in that was more magnets. To put on the outside to offset the pull from the ones inside. “As I was pulling downwards to try and remove the magnets, they clipped on to each other and I lost my grip. And those two magnets ended up in my left nostril while the other one was in my right. At this point I ran out of magnets.”

Read more …

 

It must be possible to run a joint like the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. These are no longer the times when ads pay for all you read, your donations have become an integral part of it. It has become a two-way street; and isn’t that liberating, when you think about it?

Thanks everyone for your wonderful and generous donations over the past days.

 

 

 

 


Jennifer Baer

 

 

Support us in virustime. Help the Automatic Earth survive. It’s good for you.

 

Mar 292020
 


Dorothea Lange Kern County, California 1938

 

Trump Backs Off Threat Of Coronavirus Quarantine For NYC Area (NYP)
Florida Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Fast. Here’s What That Means. (TBT)
Rhode Island Door Knocks in Search of Fleeing New Yorkers (AP)
700 N.J. Police Officers Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus (NJ.com)
More Than 500 Members Of The NYPD Have Coronavirus (NYP)
Italy PM Adopts New Measures To Help Coronavirus-Hit Economy (R.)
Home Confinement In France Extended To April 15 (SA)
UK Coronavirus Death Toll Under 20,000 Would Be ‘Good Result’ – Health Chief (R.)
UK To Turn Birmingham Airport Into Mortuary (BBC)
UK Broadband Providers To Lift Data Caps During COVID-19 Lockdown (G.)
“There’s No Gold” – COMEX Report (ZH)
Biden Consolidates Support, But Trails Badly In Enthusiasm (ABC)

 

 

Lost an hour overnight because Europe finally went to Daylight Saving Time. That one hour extra/less between the two sides of the ocean always throws me off-rhythm. The missing hour also shows up in the numbers, but we’ll make that up tomorrow.

Since the US is now the world no. 1, it’s inevitable that much of the news switches there as well. I AM unpleasantly surprised to see the numbers of police officers infected, and I would like to know how that happens. Trump’s notion of a NYC lockdown seemed to make sense, but “wiser” voices prevailed. As NYC has turned into not just the American, but the global center.

 

 

Cases 672,086 (+ 63,819 from yesterday’s 613,829)

Deaths 31,737 (+ 3,508 from yesterday’s 28,229)

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 18% –

 

 

From SCMP: (Note, SCMP numbers have done a little sprint, their US deaths are even higher than Worldometer now)

 

 

From COVID2019Live.info:

 

 

 

 

Did Trump get talked out of it by the likes of Cuomo? As NYC is turning into the global epicenter? Cuomo keeps calling for equipment, but refuses to ponder measures that could make that less important.

Trump Backs Off Threat Of Coronavirus Quarantine For NYC Area (NYP)

President Donald Trump on Saturday night backed off a daylong threat to lock down NYC and the tri-state area — a proposal that had thrown three governors for a loop. “A quarantine will not be necessary,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets Saturday night, reasoning that a travel advisory would suffice. “On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s (sic) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government,” Trump tweeted.


Trump had told reporters outside the White House earlier Saturday that he was considering a regional lockdown to stop the spread of the disease, to the dismay of the tri-state’s governors. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he and Trump spoke just a day before, on Friday, and the idea wasn’t brought up. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wouldn’t even know how such a lockdown would be instituted. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable and from a medical point of view don’t know what you would be accomplishing, but I can tell you I don’t even like the sound of it,” he told reporters Saturday.. He appeared on CNN later, where he likened the concept to starting a “Civil War,” and called it “preposterous.”

Read more …

Still photos of full beaches.

Florida Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Fast. Here’s What That Means. (TBT)

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida is doubling every three days, putting the state on a trajectory to see tens of thousands of infections in the coming weeks, a Tampa Bay Times analysis shows. No rigorous model has been calculated for Florida to predict the disease’s spread in detail. Those usually take months to create. But at this point, experts say the math is simple. The number of cases is already past the point of easy containment and infections are growing faster and faster, at what statisticians call an exponential rate. Without dramatic steps, they worry that the epidemic will balloon across Florida and place an unprecedented strain on hospitals and health clinics.


Thomas Hladish, a University of Florida research scientist who specializes in disease modeling and has been advising the state on the outbreak, said that while epidemiologists might disagree on the nuances of their projections, they all agree on the main point. “We do understand the math and the models well enough to say with great confidence that Florida is going to have a huge public health crisis,” Hladish said. “And we are just at the beginning of it right now.” By 11 a.m. Saturday, Florida had reported more than 3,700 cases — an increase of nearly 1,000 in 24 hours. Florida remains one of the few states with a large outbreak not to issue a statewide order to keep residents at home. Several counties across the state, including Hillsborough and Pinellas, issued “safer at home” orders in the last week.

Some public health experts say it will take the more extreme step of shutting down the state to halt the disease’s rapid spread in Florida. Nine hundred Florida healthcare workers had signed a petition by Friday asking for the same thing. The effects of the intervention wouldn’t be apparent right away. The same is true for the smaller steps that have already been taken in Florida, like social distancing or closing restaurants and fitness studios. “We are not going to see the benefits for a few weeks, which is frustrating to everyone,” said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor at Florida International University.

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If not the craziest thing around, a solid contender.

Rhode Island Door Knocks in Search of Fleeing New Yorkers (AP)

The Rhode Island National Guard started going door to door on Saturday in coastal areas to inform any New Yorkers who may have come to the state that they must self-quarantine for 14 days while Gov. Gina Raimondo expanded the mandatory self-quarantine to anyone visiting the state. Raimondo also ordered residents to stay at home, with exceptions for getting food, medicines or going to the doctor, and ordered nonessential retail businesses to close Monday until April 13 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. She also directed realtors and hotel operators to include new requirements that any out-of-state residents must quarantine for 14 days in their purchase agreements.

State Police set up a checkpoint on I-95 in Hope Valley on Friday where drivers with New York license plates must stop and provide contact information and were told to self-quarantine for two weeks, WPRI.com reported. If New Yorkers don’t comply, they face fines and jail time, Raimondo said, adding that that’s not the goal. “I want to be crystal clear about this: If you’re coming to Rhode Island from New York you are ordered into quarantine. The reason for that is because more than half of the cases of coronavirus in America are in New York,” Raimondo said, adding that it’s not meant to be discriminatory.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the order “reactionary” and unconstitutional, saying he’d sue Rhode Island if the policy isn’t rescinded but believed they could “work it out.” “I understand the goal … but there’s a point of absurdity, and I think what Rhode Island did is at that point of absurdity,” said Cuomo, a Democrat. “We have to keep the ideas and the policies we implement positive rather than reactionary and emotional.”

Read more …

Insane. How did this happen?

700 N.J. Police Officers Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus (NJ.com)

About 700 New Jersey police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Saturday. “There’s more than 700 police officers quarantined at home, and there’s about the same … number that have tested positive from all 21 counties,” Col. Patrick Callahan, acting superintendent of the State Police, said in Trenton during the state’s daily coronavirus press briefing. that amount is far higher than previously known. Newark, Jersey City, NJ Transit, the Port Authority, Fanwood, Hazlet and the State Police have all reported cases. Two officers that were in “serious condition” are now stable, Callahan said. None have died. Testing sites in Bergen and Holmdel were only testing symptomatic first responders Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy previously said.


There are about 36,000 full-time officers in the state, according to recent State Police data, and experts said the public should not be concerned about a looming officer shortage. “If you have the right officers and you have the right supervisors … we are good,” said Maria Haberfeld, a police science professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Crime has also dropped in the state, officials have said, which could help departments cope with any short-staffing, according to Jon Shane, a retired Newark police captain who teaches at John Jay. [..] New Jersey has at least 11,124 known cases of the virus overall, including at least 140 known deaths, officials announced Saturday.

Read more …

Seriously, how? Are they infecting each other? Like at the stations?

More Than 500 Members Of The NYPD Have Coronavirus (NYP)

Nearly 200 more NYPD cops tested positive for the coronavirus in less than a day — causing the number of infected department members to soar above 550, officials said Friday. According to a spokesman for the NYPD, 486 uniformed officers and 71 civilian employees have now contracted COVID-19. Late Thursday, 294 cops and 57 civilians were positive. Friday’s figures — the largest daily increase in confirmed cases on the force — come a day after the NYPD lost its first employee to the coronavirus, Dennis Dickson, 62, a civilian cleaner at police HQ, and Deputy Commissioner John Miller was hospitalized in critical condition with severe COVID-19 symptoms.


The potentially deadly virus has been sweeping through the department over the past week, leaving the NYPD without at least 11 percent of its patrol officers, who called out sick. About 375 more cops called out sick Friday. According to the NYPD, 4,111 officers were out ill — nearly four times the average number of cops out sick.

Read more …

Italy is finally free to do what it wants financially, the EU is silent.

Italy PM Adopts New Measures To Help Coronavirus-Hit Economy (R.)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday he had approved a new package of measures to help those worst hit by the coronavirus emergency, including supplying shopping vouchers and food packages. Conte said in a news conference that €4.3 billion ($4.79 billion) would be made immediately available to mayors to deal with theirs citizens’ needs and another 400 million would be provided in a special fund for “people who don’t have the money to do their shopping.” Italy, the country that has suffered most deaths from the coronavirus epidemic, already approved a 25 billion euro stimulus package earlier this month and has promised another one of at least the same size in April.


Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri, speaking at the same news conference, criticized the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for appearing to dismiss the need for issuance of common debt by European Union countries. “The commission president’s words were a mistake and I regret that she made them,” he said, adding that Europe would need “a great Marshall Plan” to relaunch its economy after the coronavirus emergency is over.

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What an unsympathetic term.

Home Confinement In France Extended To April 15 (SA)

The Covid-19 home confinement period will be extended for “at least two weeks” beyond the initial two-week period, the French prime minister has announced this afternoon. The obligation to stay at home, with limited exceptions, started at noon on Tuesday March 17 and was scheduled to last until Tuesday March 31 at least and until further notice. Now Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has confirmed it will definitely be extended and will not end before Wednesday April 15. “It is clear that we are only at the beginning of the wave of this epidemic,” he said specifying that the same rules, such as needing a form to go out of the house, will continue to apply.


He said the period could be extended further again if the health situation makes it necessary. On Tuesday, the official scientific committee advising the government said an extension to the confinement period was essential and pleaded for a period of six full weeks from its implementation i.e. until Tuesday April 28. A new extension could be decided “if and only if the health situation requires it,” said Mr Philippe. “Those who do not respect the rules of confinement are few in number and will be severely punished, because the health of everyone is at stake, especially the most fragile among us,” the prime minister added while praising citizens “for their civic-mindedness, patience and solidarity” during this period.

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Prepare to die. Just don’t dare blame Boris.

UK Coronavirus Death Toll Under 20,000 Would Be ‘Good Result’ – Health Chief (R.)

The United Kingdom will do well if it manages to keep the coronavirus death toll below 20,000, a senior health official said on Saturday after the deadliest day so far of the outbreak saw the number of fatalities rise to more than 1,000. Stephen Powis, the medical director of National Health Service England, warned the public against complacency and said everyone had to play their part in hindering the spread of the virus. The number of confirmed cases stood at 17,089 on Saturday morning. The death toll rose by 260 in a day to 1,019, the seventh highest toll in the world behind Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France and the United States.


When asked if Britain was on the same trajectory as Italy, where the death toll has passed 9,000, Powis said that if the public adhered to the nationwide lockdown the total toll could be kept below 20,000. “If it is less than 20,000… that would be a good result though every death is a tragedy, but we should not be complacent about that,” he said at a news conference in Downing Street. Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the first leader of a major power to announce a positive test result for coronavirus on Friday. He is self-isolating in Downing Street but still leading the UK response to the crisis.

Read more …

1,500 bodies? How small is that airport?

UK To Turn Birmingham Airport Into Mortuary (BBC)

Work to turn part of Birmingham Airport into a mortuary able to store at least 1,500 bodies has begun. Bosses previously said discussions were under way, but West Midlands Police confirmed the project had started. An airport spokesperson said it was working to provide land and a hangar for the temporary morgue. Police said there was “scope to expand” the starting capacity of 1,500, as the region prepared for a predicted rise in coronavirus deaths. The force said regional mortuaries may close as staff were transferred to the new facility, which could eventually accommodate all deaths across the West Midlands. This would include those unrelated to coronavirus, it said.


The force said it would do everything possible to accommodate religious requirements and that it was “vital” to give people “the utmost dignity and respect” at all times. Senior coroner for Birmingham, Louise Hunt, said: “We understand that it is a very difficult time for everyone and we will do all that we can to make sure bereaved families understand what is happening to their loved ones and to release them for funeral as soon as we can.” Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said public sector agencies and their partners were working together “to better deal with this challenge… at a critical time of need”.

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It’s essential that Boris talk to you.

UK Broadband Providers To Lift Data Caps During COVID-19 Lockdown (G.)

All data allowance caps on current fixed broadband services will be removed in a deal struck by the government and telecommunications companies to help vulnerable people stay connected through the pandemic. It is among a range of immediately effective measures agreed by major internet service and mobile providers including BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM. The companies have pledged that anyone who is struggling to pay their bill due to the pandemic will be treated fairly and appropriately supported, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.

The firms have also agreed to offer generous new mobile and landline packages to ensure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported. These could put users in line for packages featuring data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile. Vulnerable customers or those who are self-isolating, who are faced with priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines which cannot be carried out, should be given alternative methods of communication wherever possible, the companies said.

The digital secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “It’s fantastic to see mobile and broadband providers pulling together to do their bit for the national effort by helping customers, particularly the most vulnerable, who may be struggling with bills at this difficult time. It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home.” Watchdog Ofcom’s chief executive, Melanie Dawes, said: “We recognise providers are dealing with unprecedented challenges at the moment. So we welcome them stepping up to protect vulnerable customers, at a time when keeping in touch with our friends and families has never been more important.”

Read more …

Tik tok.

“There’s No Gold” – COMEX Report (ZH)

While the demand for gold has been soaring as a safe haven asset amid the multiple global crises we are currently facing, forced paper gold liquidation (as leveraged funds scramble to cover margin calls) and unprecedented logistical disruptions created a frantic hunt for actual bars of gold. Specifically, as Bloomberg details, at the center of it all are a small band of traders who for years had cashed in on what had always been a sure-fire bet: shorting gold futures in New York against being long physical gold in London. Usually, they’d ride the trade out till the end of the contract when they’d have a couple of options to get out without marking much, if any, loss. The real price.. for real gold? Nearer $1,800. If you can get it.

“There’s no gold,” says Josh Strauss, partner at money manager Pekin Hardy Strauss in Chicago (and a bullion fan). “There’s no gold. There’s roughly a 10% premium to purchase physical gold for delivery. Usually it’s like 2%. I can buy a one ounce American Eagle for $1,800,” said Josh Strauss. “$1,800!” “The case for gold is simple,” says Strauss. “You want to own gold in times of financial dislocation and or inflation. And that’s been the case since time immemorial. And gold behaves well in those cases. In those cases stocks behave poorly. It’s a great portfolio hedge. Gold does poorly when you’ve got strong economic growth and low inflation. Tell me when that’s going to happen. Gold held its value during 2008 and after all that money printing it tripled over the next three years.”

And in case you doubted this, the cost of an American Eagle one ounce coin at the US Mint is now $2,175…

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Really bad theater.

Biden Consolidates Support, But Trails Badly In Enthusiasm (ABC)

Former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as Democrats’ top choice for the presidential nomination in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but with only bare majority support within his party and a massive enthusiasm gap in a November matchup against President Donald Trump. Indeed, strong enthusiasm for Biden among his supporters – at just 24% – is the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential candidate in 20 years of ABC/Post polls. More than twice as many of Trump’s supporters are highly enthusiastic about supporting him, 53%. Trump’s still-strong rating on the economy is another challenge for Biden. So is this: Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who prefer Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the nomination, 15% say they’d back Trump over Biden in the fall.

In the nomination contest, 51% of leaned Democrats now prefer Biden vs. 42% for Sanders. That’s a vast 34-point gain for Biden since mid-February, with other candidates having left the race and endorsed him. Sanders gained 10%age points. Yet even as he’s advanced in his party, Biden’s slipped against Trump in a November matchup. The two are locked into essentially a dead heat among registered voters, 49-47%, Biden-Trump, after a slight Biden lead, 52-45%, in February. Biden does better vs. Trump among all adults (Democrats are less apt to be registered), 50-44%. That’s a slight lead, but it was more solidly significant in February, 52-44%.


Perhaps the Democrats’ biggest risk is under the surface, in Trump’s big advantage in backers who are “very” enthusiastic about supporting him. Strong enthusiasm for a candidate can help boost turnout on Election Day, a must-have particularly for Democrats, who rely more on motivating less-frequent voters to come to the polls. While trailing Trump by 29 points in high-level enthusiasm, Biden makes up some of the difference with those who are “somewhat” enthusiastic. But he still trails Trump by 12 points in the combined measure, 74 vs. 86%.

Read more …

 

It must be possible to run a joint like the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. These are no longer the times when ads pay for all you read, your donations have become an integral part of it. It has become a two-way street; and isn’t that liberating, when you think about it?

Thanks everyone for your wonderful and generous donations over the past few days. The rest of you: don’t be strangers.

 

 

 

 


Jennifer Baer

 

 

Support us in virustime. Help the Automatic Earth survive. It’s good for you.

 

Mar 252020
 


Harris&Ewing Washington DC in April April 1924

 

Coronavirus Stimulus Package To Exceed $6 Trillion – Kudlow (NYP)
US Senate Leaders Reach Deal With White House On $2tn Coronavirus Package (G.)
Share Buybacks, $4.6 Trillion Driver of Stock Market Bubble, Are Toast (WS)
White House Tells New Yorkers Who Leave State To Self Quarantine (USAT)
LA To Shut Off Water, Power For Non-Essential Businesses That Stay Open (GP)
United States Could Become Coronavirus Epicenter – WHO (R.)
South Korea Says Trump Asked For Equipment To Fight Coronavirus (R.)
EU Left Italy Alone To Fight Coronavirus, Russia, China Didn’t – Ex-FM (RT)
EU Shrugs Off US Sanctions, Gives Millions In Coronavirus Aid To Iran (ZH)
EU Urged To Evacuate Asylum Seekers From Cramped Greek Camps (G.)
Czech Borders May Remain Closed For Two Years, Says Top Official (ExpCZ)
Turkey’s Coronavirus Situation Is Out Of Control – Health Experts (Ahval)
Bolsonaro Says He ‘Wouldn’t Feel Anything’ If Infected With COVID-19 (G.)
Australian Doctors Warned Off After Prescribing Hydroxychloroquine (G.)
Assange Lawyer Baltasar Garzon Hospitalized With Coronavirus (RT)
Pablo Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’: Invasive Species Restore A Lost World (G.)

 

 

Only yesterday, I quoted a tweet and said: “As for these numbers: It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and just four days for the third 100,000 cases. 300,000 cases were reached sometime early March 22″.

It took two days to reach 400,000. Not even.

And Prince Charles has it.

 

 

Cases 434,568 (+ 42,621 from yesterday’s 391,947)

Deaths 19,062 (+ 2,464 from yesterday’s 17,138)

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 15% !! up 1% every day-

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID2019Live.info:

 

 

From COVID2019.app:

 

 

 

 

“We’re heading for a rough period but it’s only going to weeks, we think. Weeks and months. It’s not going to be years, that’s for sure..”

Coronavirus Stimulus Package To Exceed $6 Trillion – Kudlow (NYP)

An emergency stimulus package to bailout the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic will total $6 trillion — a quarter of the entire country’s GDP, the White House said Tuesday. Trump administration economist Larry Kudlow said the package would include $4 trillion in lending power for the Federal Reserve as well as a $2 trillion aid package currently being hammered out by Congress. “This package will be the single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States,” Kudlow said at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday evening.

Included in the package is Congress’ almost $2 trillion emergency bill which, when passed, will issue direct checks for American families, bailouts for the airline industry and a $350 billion loan program for struggling small businesses. The other $4 trillion will allow the Federal Reserve to make huge emergency bailouts to whatever entity it chooses — a measure that was used to prop-up Wall Street firms from collapse during the 2008 financial crisis. “This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy,” Kudlow added, warning the economy had tough times ahead. “We’re heading for a rough period but it’s only going to weeks, we think. Weeks and months. It’s not going to be years, that’s for sure,” he said, echoing comments from President Trump that the economy will bounce back to its pre-pandemic high.

Kudlow, a former Reagan administration adviser and media personality, said the huge bailout would “position us for what I think can be an economic rebound later this year.” A tidal wave of U.S. workers are facing unemployment in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak — with White House officials warning of a 20 percent unemployment rate.

Read more …

Forget about re-arranging deckchairs, these people are fighting while the Titanic sinks.

US Senate Leaders Reach Deal With White House On $2tn Coronavirus Package (G.)

US Senate leaders have reached a deal with the Trump administration on a nearly $2tn stimulus package to help rescue the American economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic as Donald Trump considers easing restrictions aimed at combating the contagion. After days of around-the-clock negotiations amongst senators and administration officials, a bipartisan compromise was struck over what is expected to be the largest US economic stimulus measure ever passed. “We have a deal,” said Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director, just before 1am, adding that the text of the bill still needed to be completed.

“We have either, clear, explicit legislative text reflecting all parties or we know exactly where we’re going to land on legislative text as we continue to finish.” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell confirmed a deal had been reached. The bill will then go to the House, and then to Donald Trump, who is expected to ratify it. Tempers flared on Monday on Capitol Hill as senators grappled with the need to pass the critical aid. Democrats twice blocked efforts to move forward with a vote on the legislation, arguing the proposal did not provide strong enough protections for workers, families and healthcare providers nor did it impose strict enough restrictions on businesses that receive federal bailout money.

Republicans, in turn, fumed that Democrats were playing politics in a time of crisis. Late into the night, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ueland ironed out details with the Republican and Democratic Senate leaders. “This is not a juicy political opportunity,” McConnell, said in a remarks from the floor on Monday. “This is a national emergency.” The deal would provide direct payments of up to $1,200 to most adults and expand unemployment insurance. It also includes a $367bn program for small businesses, to allow them to pay employees who have to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Waffle House Index is an informal measure of disaster severity, because all its restaurants stay open every hour of every day. After floods, tornados and hurricanes, Waffle Houses are quick to reopen, even with a limited menu.

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Why those bailouts must fail.

Share Buybacks, $4.6 Trillion Driver of Stock Market Bubble, Are Toast (WS)

Share buybacks by companies in the S&P 500 Index in the fourth quarter 2019, before the Coronavirus was even a factor, fell 18% from a year earlier, to $181.6 billion, after falling 13% and 14% year-over-year in the prior two quarters, from the blistering tax-cut records set in 2018, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices today. For the full year, buybacks fell 9.6% from the tax-cut record in 2018, to $729 billion in 2019, the second highest annual total ever. Since the beginning of 2012, these companies have bought back $4.6 trillion with a T of their own shares. To provide a comparison of how big this T-number really is: It blows past the magnitude of Germany’s annual GDP.

Share buybacks were considered illegal market manipulation until 1982, when the SEC issued Rule 10b-18 which provided corporations a “safe harbor” to buy back their own shares. The only thing that share buybacks are supposed to accomplish is to manipulate up share prices. The four biggest US banks were among the 10 biggest share buyback queens in terms of the amount of capital they wasted on share buybacks in Q4 2019. Combined they incinerated $95 billion in capital last year, and $275 billion over the past five years (if your smartphone clips the 6-column table, slide the table to the left):

But now, Financial Crisis 2 has kicked in, and the share buybacks of these four banks along with the share buybacks of other banks have dropped to zero, along with many other companies that are now facing a liquidity crisis. The banks could have used those funds to shore up their capital, which would have been useful now as the bubbles in corporate debt and commercial real estate, that the Fed was so worried about, are coming unglued. But aside from generating fees for Wall Street, share buybacks do zero for the economy. What would have happened in the US economy if that $4.6 trillion in capital that companies incinerated by buying back their own shares since 2012 would have been invested in equipment, structures, expansion projects, and people, or would have been used to reduce debt so that companies, such as Boeing and the airlines, wouldn’t be in such a precarious situation today?

That capital that was incinerated by companies buying back their own shares would come in handy for companies that are now begging for and getting mega-bailouts from taxpayers and to an even larger extent from the Federal Reserve. “COVID-19 has significantly changed the 2020 landscape, as dividends are under pressure and buybacks appear to be gasping for air,” said the report by S&P Dow Jones Indices, adding that “buybacks must now compete with other corporate priorities as uncertainty over liquidity is at its highest since the 2008 financial crisis.” For Q2 2020, buybacks are “expected to be dismal,” and for the rest of the year, “buybacks may see a complete reversal of the 2018 buyback bonanza.” And the report by S&P Dow Jones Indices adds, even after the bottom is perceived to be in, “buybacks may be slow to come back” as companies, struggling for cash, limit spending amid potential government restrictions on buybacks and their dismal public image.

Read more …

New York City: “..56% of all the coronavirus cases in the United States, as well as 60% of all new cases..”

White House Tells New Yorkers Who Leave State To Self Quarantine (USAT)

Travelers leaving the New York metro area should self-quarantine for 14 days to make sure they aren’t passing on the coronavirus, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Tuesday. In making the recommendation, task force coordinator Deborah Birx said that the quarantine should apply even to those who aren’t showing symptoms. She said many travelers are headed to locations outside New York City, from Long Island to North Carolina or other states. Brix said 56% of all the coronavirus cases in the United States, as well as 60% of all new cases, are coming from the New York metro area. Greater New York City also accounts for 31% of deaths in the country.


The recommendation follows an order that took effect Tuesday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requiring anyone flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Alaska and Hawaii are also requiring anyone arriving from other states to self-quarantine. Already, New Yorkers have been ordered to stay in their homes and the city has virtually shut down in an effort to quell spread of the virus.

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“..Our city will rise again..”

LA To Shut Off Water, Power For Non-Essential Businesses That Stay Open (GP)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that the city will be shutting off water and power to any non-essential businesses that defied orders and stayed open during the coronavirus crisis. During his Tuesday press briefing Garcetti announced that the Department of Water and Power will be shutting off services for the businesses that don’t comply with the “safer at home” ordinance. “This behavior is irresponsible and selfish,” Garcetti said of businesses that remained open. KTLA reports that neighborhood prosecutors will implement safety measures and will contact the businesses before issuing further action, according to Garcetti.


“The easiest way to avoid a visit is to follow the rules,” he said. The mayor also noted that Los Angeles is “six to 12 days behind New York” for being hit with a wave of coronavirus cases. He said that he does not believe his city will be running as normal by Easter. “The peak is not here yet,” he said. “It will be bad.” The grimness of his press conference did not end there. He also warned residents to be “prepared for some of the darkness that is ahead.” “Each one of us can be a light. We can light a match of hope. We can navigate that tunnel with each other and not alone. And more importantly, what we do can ensure that more people exit that tunnel together… and that our city will rise again,” he added.

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Could become? It already is.

United States Could Become Coronavirus Epicenter – WHO (R.)

The United States has the potential to become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic due to a “very large acceleration” in infections there, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. The highly contagious respiratory virus has infected more than 42,000 people in the United States, prompting more governors to join states ordering Americans to stay at home. Over the past 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases worldwide were from Europe and the United States, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters. Of those, 40 percent were from the United States. Asked whether the United States could become the new epicenter, she said: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential.”


“…They (the United States) have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity,” Harris added. However, she identified some positive signs such as more comprehensive testing, and further efforts to isolate the sick and trace their immediate contacts exposed to the virus. She also referred to “extremely heartwarming” stories of how Americans were helping each other during the crisis. [..] Harris said that new records were to be expected each day until new confinement measures begin to take effect. Up until now, Europe has been the center of transmission with Italy the most badly-hit country with the world’s highest number of deaths, although fatalities have begun slowing there. Asked about a potential tipping point in Italy, she said: “There is a glimmer of hope there. We’ve seen in the last two days fewer new cases and deaths in Italy but it’s very, very early days yet.”

Read more …

Every government asks every other government for help.

South Korea Says Trump Asked For Equipment To Fight Coronavirus (R.)

President Donald Trump asked South Korea to send medical equipment to the United States to fight the coronavirus, promising to help Korean companies gain U.S. government approval, South Korea’s presidential office said. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in offered to send the equipment if his country has any spare, his Blue House office said in a statement late on Tuesday, after the 23 minute phone call, which it said was arranged at Trump’s urgent request. The request for help highlights the diverging paths the two countries took since both discovered their first coronavirus cases on the same day.


South Korea rolled out widespread testing within days, swiftly launching an aggressive program to isolate confirmed cases and trace their contacts. After a big early outbreak, it won praise for slowing the spread of the disease with comparatively little disruption and just 125 deaths, and has brought the number of new infections per day to below 100 for the past 13 straight days. The United States did little testing initially, and has now been shutting parts of the country en masse, with fast-growing outbreaks in a number of states and thousands of new cases per day. Moon told Trump that South Korea “will provide as much support as possible, if there is spare medical equipment in Korea”.

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The EU fails even where you think it wouldn’t be possible.

EU Left Italy Alone To Fight Coronavirus, Russia, China Didn’t – Ex-FM (RT)

The EU’s initial response to the massive outbreak of coronavirus in Italy was largely “inadequate,” and a lack of European solidarity opened the doors for Russia and China, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told RT. The new epicenter of the dreaded pandemic, Italy, has been struggling to stop the spread of Covid-19 for weeks now. The disease has already killed more than six thousand people in the country, with over 60 thousand people infected. The EU clearly underestimated the virus, blaming the outbreak in Italy on its national healthcare system flaws, according to the two-time foreign minister and OSCE representative. As a result, Brussels, which preaches pan-European solidarity, failed to act when this solidarity was needed in the face of a crisis that eventually affected the entire bloc.

Frankly speaking, Brussels is not doing enough. At the very first moment, Italy was practically alone against the virus. Many said it was all because of the Italian habits, because Italians do not respect the rules. Suddenly, they realized all the other countries were equally affected. The situation in other major EU states like Germany and France deteriorated rapidly, forcing them to deal with thousands of infected on their own soil. “Everyone just focused on the situation at home before even thinking about helping others,” Andrea Giannotti, the executive director of the Italian Institute of Eurasian Studies, told RT. The lack of solidarity was recently noted from outside of the bloc – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic decried European solidarity as a myth, while praising Beijing for its assistance. His remarks came after Serbia received five million masks from China, which it could not get in Europe.

The EU is now trying “to do more” and somehow “make up” for its initial poor execution of a coordinated response, former Italian MP Dario Rivolta said.

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Proper thing to do, but what about the refugees in Greece?

EU Shrugs Off US Sanctions, Gives Millions In Coronavirus Aid To Iran (ZH)

The White House has not backed off it’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran even as the Islamic Republic’s Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to soar, approaching 25,000 confirmed cases Tuesday. Despite even close US ally Britain quietly signalling it’s had enough of Washington’s ill-timed pressures, Secretary of State Pompeo has upped the ante further, on Monday accusing the Iranian regime of everything from hoarding masks and equipment to intentionally spreading the deadly disease to at least five countries. But it appears Europe has finally begun to shirk US demands. On Monday EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell announced 20 million euros in new aid to Iran, and more crucially said the body will support Tehran’s request for IMF assistance.

“We’ve not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help but there is some 20 million euros in the pipeline … that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks,” Borrell said in a video news conference Monday. “We also agree in supporting the request by Iran and also by Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund to have financial support,” he said further but without disclosing details. European officials consider the situation as urgent and see the US pressure campaign as greatly exacerbating the death toll given Iran lacks much of the basic medicines and equipment to treat at-risk patients and mitigate the outbreak. Recently Iranian health officials said shockingly that one person is dying from the virus every 10 minutes.

The pressure for some kind of dramatic blanket easing of US sanctions is only set to grow, given that last week Iran’s leaders for the first time in a half-century turned to the IMF. Bloomberg reported of the urgent IMF appeal: “Iranians say that their economy is weak and unable to cope with the humanitarian toll because of the U.S. sanctions. Last week, Iran turned to the International Monetary Fund for the first time since the 1960s for aid, though Ali Vaez, the Crisis Group’s Iran project director, said the U.S. may try to block the IMF loan in order to keep up the pressure on the regime.”

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They don’t care. They haven’t in 5 years.

EU Urged To Evacuate Asylum Seekers From Cramped Greek Camps (G.)

The European Union has been urged to evacuate asylum seekers from overcrowded camps on the Greek islands in order to save lives. The European parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee has called for the evacuation of 42,000 people on the Greek islands as “an urgent preventive” measure to avoid “many deaths” from coronavirus. Holding facilities on all five Aegean isles opposite the Turkish coast are currently six times over capacity. The first case of Covid-19 on the islands was confirmed earlier this month when a Greek woman on Lesbos, the island long on the frontline of the refugee crisis, tested positive. A Greek man, recently returned from Thailand, was diagnosed with the virus on Monday, reinforcing fears of an outbreak in camps seen as especially high-risk environments .

MEPs fear that if the virus spreads it could become a public health emergency in the squalid camps, where thousands live in unsanitary conditions, often without electricity, heating or running water. “Many of those in the camps are already in precarious health situations due to the bad conditions in which they have lived for a long time,” states the letter from Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a Spanish socialist MEP, who chairs the committee. “There is no chance of isolation or social distancing, nor is it possible to ensure appropriate hygienic conditions,” he wrote. The letter adds that only six intensive care beds are available on Lesbos for residents and asylum seekers. The notorious Moria camp on Lesbos houses nearly 20,000 people in a space designed for 2,200.

[..] The MEPs want people over 60 with existing health conditions evacuated first, but do not spell out whether they should go to other EU member states or the Greek mainland. The European commission said it was working with Greece on an emergency response plan to deal with a potential outbreak of coronavirus on the islands. A commission spokesperson said Greek authorities were taking action to prevent the spread of the disease, with compulsory temperature testing of new arrivals to the camps, suspension of visits, regular cleaning of communal areas, and the setting up of quarantine and recovery areas. The spokesperson also referred to an ongoing push to encourage EU member states to give a home to unaccompanied children on the Greek islands. Seven countries pledged earlier this month to take in 1,600 children from the islands.

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“There is no time for pessimistic scenarios now..”?! Pray tell, when is that time?

Czech Borders May Remain Closed For Two Years, Says Top Official (ExpCZ)

Czech Crisis Staff head Roman Prymula told Czech Television today that border restrictions in the Czech Republic over the coronavirus situation may last up to two years, and largely depend on the management of the epidemic in other countries in Europe and across the globe, reports the Czech News Agency and Novinky.cz. While the situation in the Czech Republic is thought to improve from mid-April, estimates aren’t as optimistic for other countries in Europe. “The situation in other European countries will not be good,” Prymula told Czech Television. “There it will take months and long months.” According to Prymula, international travel will most likely be limited for the next year or two, and Czech residents should count on taking their summer holidays within the Czech Republic this year.

Prymula’s statements were supported by Czech Minister of Health Adam Vojtech. “The point is to avoid having a second or third wave of the epidemic, so that people from other countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Germany, do not begin to flow [into the Czech Republic],” he told Czech Television. “I do not want to provide false optimism, but I hope that it will be possible to keep the number to 10,000 [infected with coronavirus],” Prymula added. “We are able to operate effectively with up to 15,000 [cases].” [..] He further stated that if the number of infections does not exceed 8,500 by the end of March, it would be possible to ease the current restrictions on movement within the country during the following 10 days. This could theoretically take place place by the Easter holiday (April 12-13).

Prymula’s statement was “shocking”, said TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek. The statement has presented the urgent question of whether it was right that the emergency staff is headed by a person without political responsibility, Kalousek said. What was said is quite quite unfortunate, TOP 09 leader Marketa Adamova Pekarova said. There is no time for pessimistic scenarios now, she added.

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Turkey reported its first case only on March 11. It kept its soccer league going for much longer than others.

Turkey’s Coronavirus Situation Is Out Of Control – Health Experts (Ahval)

Health experts have warned that Turkey’s coronavirus situation is out of control and that deaths from the disease could soon be on a par with Italy or Spain, reported the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network on Tuesday. “The recent data on cases and death tolls shows that the situation is out of control in Turkey. If the necessary measures are not taken, Turkey will be like Italy or Spain, where the daily death toll is in the hundreds,” Emrah Altındis, a Turkish professor from Harvard University’s Medical Faculty, told BIRN. Turkey only reported its first coronavirus patient on March 11, but cases and deaths have rapidly risen since then.


The Turkish health minister confirmed on Tuesday seven more deaths due to the coronavirus and announced 343 new cases, raising the total number of cases in the country to 1,872. Turkey has halted incoming flights from dozens of countries and closed a wide range of non-essential businesses and venues, and announced a curfew on elderly and vulnerable citizens over the weekend, though it has refrained from enforcing a full lockdown. However, some medical experts have said that the measures are insufficient.

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“The first political suicide broadcast live on national radio and television..”

Bolsonaro Says He ‘Wouldn’t Feel Anything’ If Infected With COVID-19 (G.)

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has claimed he “wouldn’t feel anything” if infected with coronavirus and rubbished efforts to contain the illness with large-scale quarantines as his country’s two biggest cities went into shutdown in a desperate bid to save lives. In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday night, Bolsonaro slammed what he branded the economically damaging “scorched earth” tactics being used to slow the advance of an illness that has now claimed about 15,000 lives around the world. “The virus has arrived and we are fighting it and soon it will pass,” claimed Bolsonaro, who is facing a growing backlash in Brazil for repeatedly dismissing coronavirus as a media “fantasy” and “trick”.

Bolsonaro’s incendiary remarks came as both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo were placed under partial lockdown by municipal and state authorities who fear an explosion of cases in the coming days. João Doria, the governor of São Paulo, Brazil’s most economically important and populous state, has declared a 15-day quarantine period affecting about 46 million of Brazil’s 210 million citizens. Meanwhile Rio’s mayor, Marcello Crivella, has ordered an indefinite shutdown of that city’s commerce and schools with Rio’s state governor, Wilson Witzel, also introducing drastic measures to counter coronavirus.

But in his five-minute address – which sparked loud protests in both Rio and São Paulo – Bolsonaro railed against such steps and attacked the media for spreading a “feeling of dread” among the population by reporting on the death toll in Italy. “Our lives have to go on. Jobs must be kept … we must, yes, get back to normal,” Bolsonaro said as his government’s health officials announced that the number of deaths in Brazil had risen to 46 with more than 2,200 cases. “A small number of state and municipal authorities must abandon their scorched-earth ideas: the banning of public transport, the closing of commerce and mass confinement,” Bolsonaro said. “What is happening around the world has shown that the at-risk group are those over 60 years old. So why close schools? … Ninety per cent of us will show no sign [of infection] if we are infected.”

[..] “The first political suicide broadcast live on national radio and television,” tweeted Ricardo Noblat, a prominent Brazilian journalist. Brian Winter, the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, tweeted: “Pray for Brazil.”

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But there are a lot of positive reports too.

Australian Doctors Warned Off After Prescribing Hydroxychloroquine (G.)

Australia’s drugs regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat Covid-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members despite its potentially deadly side-effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity – including from Donald Trump – about the potential of the drug to treat Covid-19.


Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including heart failure and toxicity. Some Australian media outlets have wrongly reported the drug as a “cure” for the virus even though trials have been either inconclusive or too small to be useful, have only been conducted in test tubes, are not yet complete, or have not even received ethics approval. Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration said it was concerned about shortages of the drug for people who need it following increased off-label prescribing as a result of the Covid-19 reports. As well as heart attacks the drug can lead to irreversible eye damage and severe depletion of blood sugar potentially leading to coma, the TGA warned.

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I think today’s the day for the request to free Assange.

Assange Lawyer Baltasar Garzon Hospitalized With Coronavirus (RT)

Famous Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon has been admitted to a hospital in Madrid after testing positive for Covid-19. He has provided legal counsel to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, among other things. Garzon, 64, was admitted to the Ruber clinic in Madrid on Tuesday, after five days of high fever at home. He tested positive for the coronavirus and was given the prognosis of respiratory failure, Spanish media reported. The former judge of the National Court had self-isolated at his home after complaining about a fever and chest pains, before the symptoms worsened.


Garzon became famous as a judge who cracked down on the Basque separatist organization ETA, and pursued human rights abuse charges against Spain’s Franco government, the Pinochet junta in Chile, and the Argentine military dictatorship. He has provided legal counsel to Assange since 2012, finding himself under considerable pressure at times – such as when masked raiders broke into his office in 2017. The second hardest-hit country in Europe by the Covid-19 outbreak, Spain is struggling with almost 40,000 reported cases, of which 2,700 have been fatal so far.

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Your good news for today.

Pablo Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’: Invasive Species Restore A Lost World (G.)

When the drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, he left behind a zoo stocked with wild animals alongside his multibillion dollar cocaine empire. The lions, giraffes and other exotic species were moved from the luxurious Hacienda Nápoles estate east of Medellín to new homes, but nearly three decades later, dozens of hippos, descendants of animals left behind, are thriving in small lakes in northern Colombia, making them the world’s largest invasive animal. Now scientists say that contrary to the conventional wisdom that large invasive herbivore mammals have strictly negative effects on their new environments, Escobar’s “cocaine” hippos show how introduced species can restore a lost world.

A team of conservation biologists has compared the traits and impacts on the ecosystems from large invasive herbivore species like the Colombian hippo with their extinct counterparts from the Late Pleistocene (around 116,000-12,000 years ago) period like mammoths, giants sloths and giant wombats. They found some modern day invasive species restore parts of ecosystems not seen since before humans began driving the widespread extinctions of megafauna. Their new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that some introduced herbivore species are an almost perfect ecological match for extinct species from the Late Pleistocene, such as modern day wild horses known as mustangs and the extinct pre-domestic horses in North America, while others bring back a mixture of traits.

“The feral hippos in South America are similar in diet and body size to extinct giant llamas, while a bizarre type of extinct mammal – a notoungulata – shares with hippos large size and semiaquatic habitats,” explained study co-author John Rowan, Darwin fellow in organismic and evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “So, while hippos don’t perfectly replace any one extinct species, they restore parts of important ecologies across several species.”


Toxodon-Notoungulata

By comparing ecological traits of herbivore species from before the Late Pleistocene extinctions to the present day, such as body size, diet and habitat, researchers were able to quantify the extent to which introduced species were more or less similar to extinct predecessors. The analysis found that by introducing large herbivore species across the world, humans had restored lost ecological traits to many ecosystems, thereby counteracting a legacy of extinctions and making the world more like the pre-extinction late Pleistocene.

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Someone asked if this was performance art, fair enough. I was wondering what would happen if Trump did this.

 

 

 

 

Support us in virustime. Help the Automatic Earth survive. It’s good for you.

 

Mar 242020
 


DPC City Hall subway station, New York 1904

 

Coronavirus Survived In Vacated Cruise Ship Cabins For Up To 17 Days (CNBC)
46.5% Of Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Passengers, Crew Were Asymptomatic (CNN)
Italy Has A Brief Glimpse Of Hope As New Cases Drop To A 5-Day Low (SCMP)
India Faces Spike In Coronavirus Cases – Study (R.)
Coronavirus Treatment Developed By Gilead Granted “Rare Disease” Status (IC)
Man Dies After Ingesting Chloroquine (NBC)
‘Miracle’ Malaria Drug Saved Us From Coronavirus, Claim Americans (DM)
War Couldn’t Stop Parliament, So Why Should COVID-19? (Aus.)
Ecuadoreans Print 3-D Protective Gear For COVID-19 Doctors (Telesur)
Electricity Consumption In Italy Plummets Amid Countrywide Quarantine (ZH)
China’s Propaganda Campaign in Europe (Kern)
All the Fed’s Corporate & Investor Bailout Programs and SPVs (WS)

 

 

Scariest bit today? Here it is:

 

 

Cases 391,947 (+ 46,654 from yesterday’s 345,292)

Deaths 17,138 (+ 2,213 from yesterday’s 14,925)

 

 

 

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

One look at the US suffices. It was up 9,293 at 42,893. So far today another 2,434 were added, total now 46,168. Death toll yesterday was 522, now 582.

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 14% !! 2 weeks ago it was at 6%-

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID2019Live.info:

 

 

From COVID2019.app:

 

 

 

 

Just today, March 24, two more deaths from the Diamond Princess were announced. The last crew members left the ship March 1.

Coronavirus Survived In Vacated Cruise Ship Cabins For Up To 17 Days (CNBC)

The coronavirus survived for up to 17 days aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, living far longer on surfaces than previous research has shown, according to new data published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study examined the Japanese and U.S. government efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess ship in Japan and the Grand Princess ship in California. Passengers and crew on both ships were quarantined on board after previous guests, who didn’t have any symptoms while aboard each of the ships, tested positive for COVID-19 after landing ashore.

The virus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” the researchers wrote, adding that the finding doesn’t necessarily mean the virus spread by surface. “COVID-19 on cruise ships poses a risk for rapid spread of disease, causing outbreaks in a vulnerable population, and aggressive efforts are required to contain spread,” the CDC wrote, reiterating its guidance to vulnerable populations to avoid cruises during the pandemic.

[..] The new study set out to determine how “transmission occurred across multiple voyages of several ships.” They noted that as of March 17, there were at least 25 cruise ship voyages with confirmed COVID-19 cases that were detected either during or after the cruise ended. Almost half, 46.5%, of the infections aboard the Diamond Princess were asymptomatic when they were tested, partially explaining the “high attack rate” of the virus among passengers and crew. [..] The researchers found that 712 of 3,711 people on the Diamond Princess, or 19.2% were infected by COVID-19.

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And why wouldn’t this be true everywhere?

Note: the -unrelated- explainer video is pretty much a must see

46.5% Of Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Passengers, Crew Were Asymptomatic (CNN)

Nearly half of the Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers and crew who tested positive for the novel coronavirus were asymptomatic at the time they were tested, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the 712 passengers and crew members of the ship who tested positive for coronavirus, 331 – or 46.5% – were asymptomatic at the time of testing, the CDC said. The agency said that the high rate of asymptomatic infections could partly explain the high rate of infection among cruise ship passengers and crew.


Traces of the virus were found “on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” the CDC said. However, the surface contamination on the ship can’t be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces without further study, the CDC cautioned. As of March 13, 107, or 25%, of the 428 Americans on the Diamond Princess tested positive for coronavirus, the agency said.

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Italian newspaper La Repubblica apparently reports that infection rate in Italy is 10x higher than acknowledged. I like the tweeted response:

“That’s actually good news (if true). Death rate much lower and also means everyone has it.”

If everyone’s infected, there’s no more need for lockdowns.

Italy Has A Brief Glimpse Of Hope As New Cases Drop To A 5-Day Low (SCMP)

Italy’s number of new Covid-19 cases dropped to a five-day low on Monday, easing tension on overstretched hospitals and bringing a glimmer of hope to a nation that has lost more lives than any other country to the pandemic. In Spain, however, more people died in the last 24 hours than at any point since the coronavirus outbreak erupted in what has become Europe’s second most devastated country. Italian health authorities announced 4,789 new cases in the last 24 hours, a drop from 5,560 on Sunday and 6,557 on Saturday. It was also lower than the levels of Thursday and Friday, when the figures for confirmed cases were still rising. The number of hospitalised cases in Lombardy – the Italian region enduring the most serious outbreak – also declined for the first time since the contagion took root.


“Today is perhaps the first positive day we have had in this hard, very tough month,” said Giulio Gallera, the top health official in Lombardy, an area known as the economic engine of Italy. “It is not the time to sing victory, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” The number of coronavirus cases in Italy has risen to 63,927 – compared to 81,093 in mainland China. [..] The overall death rate from the pandemic in Italy has further risen to 9.5 per cent, far exceeding the global average of 4.4 per cent. Of the confirmed cases, 3,204 were in intensive care, while 26,522 were under home quarantine.

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The US went from 409 cases two weeks ago to 46,000 now, sure to cross the 100,000 line in a few days, i.e. in under 3 weeks. This “study” claims this could take almost 2 months in India.

India Faces Spike In Coronavirus Cases – Study (R.)

India could face between around 100,000 and 1.3 million confirmed cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus by mid-May if it continues to spread at its current pace, according to a team of scientists based mainly in the United States. The estimates reinforce concerns among some medical officials and experts in India that the country of 1.4 billion people could see coronavirus cases jump sharply in the coming weeks and put its health system under severe strain. The scientists said projections could change as the country conducts more testing, while also putting in place stricter restrictions and measures to stem the spread of the virus.

“Even with the best case scenarios, probably, you are in a very painful crisis,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan who was involved in the study. The study was carried out by the COV-IND-19 Study Group of scholars and scientists looking into the threat posed by the coronavirus, and COVID-19, the disease it causes, in India. [..] India probably has only around 100,000 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 40,000 ventilators, said Dhruva Chaudhry, president of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, based on industry estimates and other data. “We can handle it if an even number (of cases) come over a period of time,” Chaudhry said. But he warned that there was not sufficient infrastructure or staff to handle a sharp spike in critical patients.

[..] So far, India has reported 471 cases of the coronavirus and 9 deaths, numbers dwarfed by countries like China, Italy and Spain, but which are nonetheless beginning to accelerate. Authorities have imposed a lockdown across large parts of the country, including in the capital city New Delhi and the financial hub of Mumbai. The original study was based on data up to March 16, but following a request from Reuters, the team updated their model using cases from Indian health authorities up to March 21.

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Yeah, this stinks. But it’s not a “coronavirus treatment”. Remdesivir is an antiviral that’s alleged to be effective against Ebola and Marburg.

Coronavirus Treatment Developed By Gilead Granted “Rare Disease” Status (IC)

This afternoon, the Food and Drug Administration granted Gilead Sciences “orphan” drug status for its antiviral drug, remdesivir. The designation allows the pharmaceutical company to profit exclusively for seven years from the product, which is one of dozens being tested as a possible treatment for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Experts warn the designation, reserved for treating “rare diseases,” could block supplies of the antiviral medication from generic drug manufacturers and provide a lucrative windfall for Gilead Sciences, which maintains close ties with President Donald Trump’s task force for controlling the coronavirus crisis. Joe Grogan, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, lobbied for Gilead from 2011 to 2017 on issues including the pricing of pharmaceuticals.

“The Orphan Drug Act is for a rare disease and this is about as an extreme opposite of a rare disease you can possibly dream up,” said James Love, the director of Knowledge Ecology International, a watchdog on pharmaceutical patent abuse. “They’re talking about potentially half the population of the United States,” said Love, adding that “it’s absurd that this would happen in the middle of an epidemic when everything is in short supply.” The 1983 Orphan Drug Act gives special inducements to pharmaceutical companies to make products that treat rare diseases. In addition to the seven-year period of market exclusivity, “orphan” status can give companies grants and tax credits of 25 percent of the clinical drug testing cost. The law is reserved for drugs that treat illnesses that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.

But a loophole allows drugs that treat more common illnesses to be classified as orphans if the designation is given before the disease reaches that threshold. As of press time, there were more than 40,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S, and some 366,000 worldwide. The distinction could severely limit supply of remdesivir by granting Gilead Sciences exclusive protection over the drug and complete control of its price. Other pharmaceutical firms, including India-based pharmaceutical firm Cipla, are reportedly working towards a generic form of remdesivir, but patients in the U.S. could be prevented from buying generics with lower prices now that Gilead Sciences’ drug has been designated an orphan.

The distinction could severely limit supply of remdesivir by granting Gilead Sciences exclusive protection over the drug and complete control of its price. Other pharmaceutical firms, including India-based pharmaceutical firm Cipla, are reportedly working towards a generic form of remdesivir, but patients in the U.S. could be prevented from buying generics with lower prices now that Gilead Sciences’ drug has been designated an orphan. Today, Gilead abruptly announced that it would no longer provide emergency access to remdesivir, telling the New York Times that “overwhelming demand” left it unable to process requests for the drug through its compassionate use program. Hours later, the Food and Drug Administration gave the drug orphan status. Almost immediately, Gilead’s stock price shot up.

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Okay, I’m confused. Time for Dr. John Day and other medical commentariat to chime in. This suggests the “human” version’s generic name is hydroxychloroquine, but when we started discussing it here 5 weeks ago, we were talking about chloroquine phosphate, which the article says is for fish only.

Also, we don’t read how much these people took. And the woman is critical but still does elaborate interviews?

Man Dies After Ingesting Chloroquine (NBC)

An Arizona man has died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate — believing it would protect him from becoming infected with the coronavirus. The man’s wife also ingested the substance and is under critical care. The toxic ingredient they consumed was not the medication form of chloroquine, used to treat malaria in humans. Instead, it was an ingredient listed on a parasite treatment for fish. The man’s wife told NBC News she’d watched televised briefings during which President Trump talked about the potential benefits of chloroquine. Even though no drugs are approved to prevent or treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, some early research suggests it may be useful as a therapy.

The name “chloroquine” resonated with the man’s wife, who asked that her name not be used to protect the family’s privacy. She’d used it previously to treat her koi fish. “I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?'” The couple — both in their 60s and potentially at higher risk for complications of the virus — decided to mix a small amount of the substance with a liquid and drink it as a way to prevent the coronavirus. “We were afraid of getting sick,” she said. Within 20 minutes, both became extremely ill, at first feeling “dizzy and hot.” “I started vomiting,” the woman told NBC News. “My husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand.”

She called 911. The emergency responders “were asking a lot of questions” about what they’d consumed. “I was having a hard time talking, falling down.” Shortly after he arrived at the hospital, her husband died. [..] On Monday, Banner Health, based in Arizona, said the couple took the additive called chloroquine phosphate. The couple unfortunately equated the chloroquine phosphate in their fish treatment with the medication —known by its generic name, hydroxychloroquine ..

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One coin, two sides.

‘Miracle’ Malaria Drug Saved Us From Coronavirus, Claim Americans (DM)

People across the US have come forward to call the anti-malaria drug a ‘miracle’ coronavirus treatment as New York state officials announce they will start trials with the medication on Tuesday. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will doctors will start trialing hydroxychloroquine this week after the number of coronavirus cases in New York City alone rose to 12,000, an increase of more than 3,000 overnight. The drug has not yet been proven as effective in battling the virus, but President Donald Trump drummed up excitement over it when he called it a ‘game changer’ last week. Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, said more work was needed before it could be heralded as a solution. But people like Rio Giardinieri, Margaret Novins and Lost star Daniel Dae Kim are praising the drug for saving their lives.

Giardinieri, who is the vice-president of a company that manufactures cooking equipment for high-end restaurants in Los Angeles, said his doctors administered the drug as a last hope for his recovery. The 52-year-old believes he contracted the virus during a conference in New York and immediately fell ill with a fever for five days, back pain, headaches, a cough and fatigue. ‘I was at the point where I was barely able to speak, and breathing was very challenging,’ he told Fox 6. He went to Joe DiMaggio Hospital in South Florida, where doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and coronavirus. Giardinieri explained that he was placed on oxygen but he was still unable to breath. After a week, doctors told him there was nothing else they could do and on Friday evening he said goodbye to his wife and three children.

‘I really thought my end was there. I had been through nine days of solid pain and for me, the end was there, so I made some calls to say, in my own way, goodbye to my friends and family,’ he told the news site. Giardinieri said a friend then told him about the anti-malaria drug. He immediately asked a doctor to administer the medication. He then explained what came next, including the moment when he felt like his heart was beating out of his chest. ‘They had to come in, and get me calmed down, and take care of me,’ Giardinieri said. But then the next morning he says he ‘woke up like nothing ever happened’ and feeling much better. The doctors said they don’t believe Giardinieri’s episode was a reaction to the anti-malaria drug but instead was likely the virus progressing in his body. ‘To me, the drug saved my life,’ Giardinieri said.

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Keep distance everywhere except in parliament? There are pictures of UK nurses in overloaded London subway trains. Because the risk of infection at work is not high enough, I guess.

War Couldn’t Stop Parliament, So Why Should COVID-19? (Aus.)

The decision to shut down parliament until August goes against the entire underpinnings of our Westminster political democracy. The argument that it practically needs to happen is just rubbish. Parliament kept operating through both World Wars. It operated during the Great Depression and even the Spanish Influenza of 1919. In those days we didn’t have the technology nor know-how we do today to make it even easier to keep parliament open, whether from a transport or communications perspective. The same reason that well prepared private schools have seamlessly moved to online learning systems is the reason the nation’s parliament could operate — at the very least — as a virtual chamber if necessary. Or as it did this week with social distancing and limited attendance.


What message does it send culturally that parliament is apparently so irrelevant it can pack up until the second half of the year without concern? Our democracy is not about the executive running the joint without parliamentary oversight — especially in times of crisis when scrutiny and accountability become even more important. While parliament inevitably includes no small degree of buffoonery, the role of Question Time and the platform the chamber gives individual MPs to voice the concerns of their local communities is vital. As are the committee processes.

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Shouldn’t everyone be doing this? Where are governments’ purchases of 3D printers?

Ecuadoreans Print 3-D Protective Gear For COVID-19 Doctors (Telesur)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ecuador has become the second worst-hit country in the region with over 980 infected as of Monday and with the rapid spread of the virus the country now faces a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for its health workers. Yet this grim reality became an opportunity for a group of Ecuadoreans business owners and enthusiasts of 3-D printing to join together and apply their knowledge to produce much-needed equipment for the doctors and nurses fronting the virus. “As soon as the news came, we started to think and talk about ways to help…we saw there was a need for protective gear and realized we could help,” Mateo Arcos, co-coordinator of the Hacking COVID-10 EC initiative told teleSUR.


The group began with 60 volunteers that decided to produce face shields, which are PPEs that provide over the top, side, and front face protection against splash and splatter of fluid-borne pathogens. Now the initiative has over 280 volunteers. The decision to opt for this was based on the fact many medical personel across the country were cutting off plastic bottles in order to make their own masks, crippling health workers’ ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. “There is a clear scarcity of it so we opted to make them, also as it was the more viable option,” Arcos added.

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Imagine the earth protecting herself from mankind by debilitating its powers to destroy her any further.

Electricity Consumption In Italy Plummets Amid Countrywide Quarantine (ZH)

Italy has gone full “Wuhan” with a massive lockdown across the country amid a virus crisis that has paralyzed its economy. So far, 63,927 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported, with 6,077 deaths. The Italian economy is being dragged into a depression as the fast-spreading virus cripples its northern regions, forcing the government to ban travel and close all industrial production across the country. The impact of the virus on Italy’s economy led to the collapse of electricity consumption last week. Electricity usage fell 16% YoY for March 16-22, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Terna SpA data.

Diego Marquina, an analyst covering European power markets at BloombergNEF, noted on Monday that electricity demand in every European country has declined due to the impact of quarantine measures to mitigate the virus spread. Marquina said if declining electricity consumption is “sustained…weekday power demand would most likely fall to Sunday levels – a 10-26% reduction, depending on the country.” He estimates that power prices could drop between 6-18 EUR/MWh.

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Remeber that, as I wrote yesterday in , the leadership in all these countries failed miserably. All of them, including China.

China’s Propaganda Campaign in Europe (Kern)

Fortune magazine explained the motivation behind China’s propaganda push: “For China, the outreach to Europe is part of an effort to claw back an international leadership role after early cover-ups helped the virus spread well beyond its borders. President Xi Jinping’s government has sought to silence critics, including reporters and online commentators, and also spread conspiracy theories about where the virus originated. “Geopolitically, China’s move to brand itself as Europe’s savior aims to improve its standing on a global stage as both spar with the Trump administration. China and the U.S. have continued a wider fight for global influence — Beijing kicked out more than a dozen American journalists this week — while also seeking to deflect blame for their handling of the disease.”

On March 12, China sent to Italy a team of nine Chinese medical staff along with some 30 tons of equipment on a flight organized by the Chinese Red Cross. The head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, said that the shipment “revealed the power of international solidarity.” In recent days, China has also sent aid to:

• Greece, March 21. An Air China plane carrying 8 tons of medical equipment — including 550,000 surgical masks and other items such as protective equipment, glasses, gloves and shoe covers — arrived at Athens International Airport. The Chinese Ambassador to Greece, Zhang Qiyue, referred to words by Aristotle: “What is a friend? A single soul living in two bodies.” He said that “difficult times reveal true friends” and that China and Greece are “working closely together in the fight against the coronavirus.” This, he said, “confirms once again the excellent relations and friendship between the two peoples.”

• Serbia, March 21. China flew six doctors, ventilators and medical masks to Serbia to help Belgrade halt spreading of the coronavirus infection. “A big thank you to President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. China’s ambassador to Belgrade, Chen Bo, said the aid was a sign of the “iron friendship” between the two countries.

• Spain, March 21. The founder and president of the Chinese technology company Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, donated one million face masks. They were expected to arrive at Zaragoza Airport in northeastern Spain on March 23. The masks will be stored at a warehouse belonging to the Spanish apparel retailer Zara. From there, Zara will put its logistics network at the service of the Spanish government.

• Czech Republic, March 21. A Ukrainian cargo plane reportedly carrying 100 tons of medical supplies from China arrived at the airport in Pardubice, a city situated 100 kilometers east of Prague. On March 20, a Chinese plane carrying one million masks arrived in the Czech Republic, which reportedly ordered another 5 million respirators from China along with 30 million masks and 250,000 sets of protective clothing.

• France, March 18. China sent to France, the second-most powerful country of the European Union, a batch of medical supplies, including protective masks, surgical masks, protective suits and medical gloves. The Chinese Embassy in France tweeted: “United we will win!” The following day, China sent a second batch of supplies. The Chinese Embassy tweeted: “The Chinese people are next to the French people. Solidarity and cooperation will allow us to overcome this pandemic.”

• The Netherlands, March 18. China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, codeshare partners with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, donated 20,000 masks and 50,000 gloves. The shipment arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on a Xiamen Airlines flight. “These are extremely difficult times for our country and our company, so we are very happy with this help for KLM and for the Netherlands,” KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said. “Less than two months ago, KLM made a donation to China and now we are being helped so wonderfully and generously.”

• Poland, March 18. The Chinese government pledged to send Poland tens of thousands of protective items and 10,000 coronavirus test kits. On March 13, the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw sponsored a videoconference during which experts from China and Central Europe shared their knowledge on tackling the coronavirus.

• Belgium, March 18. A Chinese cargo plane carrying 1.5 million masks landed at Liege Airport. The masks, which will be distributed to Belgium, France and Slovenia, were donated by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, a Chinese ecommerce giant known as the “Amazon of China.”

• Czech Republic, March 18. A plane carrying 150,000 test kits for coronavirus landed in Prague. The Ministry of Health paid about CZK 14 million ($550,000) for 100,000 testing kits, while another 50,000 kits were paid for by the Ministry of the Interior. Transport was provided by the Ministry of Defense.

• Spain, March 17. A Chinese plane carrying 500,000 masks arrived at Zaragoza Airport. “The sun always rises after the rain,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. He said that the friendship between China and Spain will be stronger and bilateral ties will have a brighter future after the joint fight against the virus. Xi said that after the pandemic, both countries should intensify exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of fields.

• Belgium, March 16. Another shipment of medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation for epidemic prevention in Europe arrived at Liege Airport.

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Unlimited purchases announced and stocks tank. Is that the end of the line?

All the Fed’s Corporate & Investor Bailout Programs and SPVs (WS)

With its announcement this morning, the Fed expanded its three fundamental mechanisms in which it is once again bailing out the biggest risk takers, over-leveraged companies, hedge funds, mortgage REITs, and PE firms; wiping out cash-flows for crash-averse savers and holders of Treasury securities; and creating special opportunities for well-connected individuals who have access to the Fed’s programs. And let’s get this straight: None of the programs are going to fix the economy.

These bailout programs fall into three mechanisms:
1. Fed buys assets directly. Until this morning, this was limited to Treasury securities, agency debt, and residential MBS backed by Ginnie Mae (US government agency) and the GSEs, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This morning, the Fed added agency-backed commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) to the list.

2. Fed sets up special purpose vehicles (SPV) and lends to the SPVs which then buy assets or lend. These SPVs can buy assets the Fed is not allowed to buy and they can lend to entities and individuals to buy certain assets. Under the Federal Reserve Act, these SPVs require taxpayer backing from the Treasury Department to protect the Fed from losses.

3. The Fed lends to its 24 Primary Dealers against collateral, and that collateral can be anything the Fed decides, including now stocks – and in the end finally old bicycles.

The entire alphabet soup of new programs will take a while to get set up and get started. And since they won’t fix the economy and its underlying problems, they might not work as well in accomplishing their goals – making the wealthy wealthier – as they did during the Financial Crisis. So we’ll have to see how this works out.

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Support us in virustime. Help the Automatic Earth survive.

 

Mar 232020
 


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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

One look at the US suffices:

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

From COVID2019Live.info:

 

 

From COVID2019.app:

 

 

Reported US coronavirus cases via @CNN:

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

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

 

 

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

How Long to 1 Million US Cases? (Mish)

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


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

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

Nobel Laureate Predicts A Quicker Coronavirus Recovery (LAT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

The Government Budget Deficit Is About To Explode (CNBC)

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

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

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

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

Senate Democrats Block Mammoth Coronavirus Stimulus Package (Hill)

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

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

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I vote against all politicians.

Blame Game Heats Up As Senate Motion Fails (Hill)

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

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

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

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And she was lucky enough to get tested.

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus Reveals Financial Irresponsibility Of Americans (Hill)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

China’s Housing Bubble Bursts (ZH)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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