Jun 012021
 
 June 1, 2021  Posted by at 8:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Pablo Picasso La lecture 1932

 

3 Leaks that Sink the Covid Narrative (OffG)
Thanks For The Labels (Denninger)
After COVID-19 Successes, Push For mRNA Vaccines For Other Diseases (Nature)
Former National Security Advisor: ‘I Think We Can’ Find Covid-19 Origin (Hill)
Peru Surges To Highest Covid Death Toll Per Capita (Axios)
EU Plans To Lift Covid Quarantine Rules For Vaccinated From 1 July (G.)
The Three Rivers of Angst (Kunstler)
US Caught Spying On EU ‘Allies’ Again…What Is Europe Going To Do About It? (RT)
Russia May Be Cut Off From SWIFT Banking Payment System (RT)
EU Set To Unveil Plans For Bloc-Wide Digital Wallet (R.)
Just 7% of UK Shop Payments Predicted To Be In Cash By 2024 (G.)

 

 

 

 

German department of the interior report: “The danger is obviously no greater than that of many other viruses.”

3 Leaks that Sink the Covid Narrative (OffG)

The science of the coronavirus is not disputed. It is well documented and openly admitted: Most people won’t get the virus. Most of the people who get it won’t display symptoms. Most of the people who display symptoms will only be mildly sick. Most of the people with severe symptoms will never be critically ill. And most of the people who get critically ill will survive. This is borne out by the numerous serological studies which show, again and again, that the infection fatality ratio is on par with flu. There is no science – and increasingly little rational discussion – to justify the lockdown measures and overall sense of global panic. Nevertheless, it’s always good to get official acknowledgement of the truth, even if it has to be leaked. Here are three leaks showing that those in power know that the coronavirus poses no threat, and in no way justifies the lockdown that is going to destroy the livelihoods of so many.

1. “IT’S ALL BULLSHIT!” On May 26th Dr Alexander Myasnikov, Russia’s head of coronavirus information, gave an interview to former-Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak in which he apparently let slip his true feelings. Believing the interview over, and the camera turned off, Myasnikov said: “It’s all bullshit […] It’s all exaggerated. It’s an acute respiratory disease with minimal mortality […] Why has the whole world been destroyed? That I don’t know,”

2. “COVID-19 CANNOT BE DESCRIBED AS A GENERALLY DANGEROUS DISEASE” According to an e-mail leaked to Danish newspaper Politiken, the Danish Health Authority disagree with their government’s approach to the coronavirus. They cover it in two articles. There’s a lot of interesting information there, not least of which is the clear implication that politicians appear to be pressing the scientific advisors to overstate the danger (they did the same thing in the UK), along with the decision of some civil servants to withhold data from the public until after the lockdown had been extended. But by far the most important quote is from a March 15th e-mail: The Danish Health Authority continues to consider that covid-19 cannot be described as a generally dangerous disease, as it does not have either a usually serious course or a high mortality rate,” On March 12th the Danish parliament passed an emergency law which – among many other things – decreased the power of the Danish Health Authority, demoting it from a “regulatory authority” to just an “advisory” one.

3. “A GLOBAL FALSE ALARM” Earlier this month, on May 9th, a report was leaked to the German alternate media magazine Tichys Einblick titled “Analysis of the Crisis Management”. The report was commissioned by the German department of the interior, but then its findings were ignored, prompting one of the authors to release it through non-official channels. The fall out of that, including attacks on the authors and minimising of the report’s findings, is all very fascinating and we highly recommend this detailed report on Strategic Culture. We’re going to focus on just the reports conclusions, including [our emphasis]:

The dangerousness of Covid-19 was overestimated: probably at no point did the danger posed by the new virus go beyond the normal level. The danger is obviously no greater than that of many other viruses. There is no evidence that this was more than a false alarm. During the Corona crisis the State has proved itself as one of the biggest producers of Fake News. After being attacked in the press, and suspended from his job, the leaker and other authors of the report released a joint statement, calling on the government to respond to their findings.

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“Took the stab? You’re off the marriage-potential list permanently. Why? Potential life-long medical complications, that’s why.”

Thanks For The Labels (Denninger)

One of the latest bits of insanity: Dating apps are allegedly asking if you’ve taken the Covid stab and displaying a “badge” if you have. I haven’t verified this personally since I have no use for such things, but it’s allegedly either there or being rolled out. To which, if I was single and younger, especially of potential child-siring age, I’d say “thanks for the warning.” Indeed, the malicious (or shall we say, “predatory”) men out there just got fair warning of who is a **** ’em and leave “fun” date. Took the stab? You’re off the marriage-potential list permanently. Why? Potential life-long medical complications, that’s why. Do I want to marry someone who may have given themselves an auto-immune disease three or five years down the road? Oh Hell No. But if she’s cute, well, the bed awaits — for now.

When Lupus or similar “screw you” lifetime medical issues make their appearance she can enjoy the company of her cats — that wasn’t a random chance thing we all are forced to face as adults and is always part of the deal it was self-inflicted stupidity and her other half didn’t get a vote. Never mind the rather clear problem that is presented to anyone (of either sex) contemplating a permanent relationship with someone who is willing to stab themselves with an experimental drug. There’s a legitimate reason to do it, by the way: You already know you’re at very high risk of a respiratory virus killing you, so despite the unknowns the math pencils out. Ok, thanks for the warning again; you aren’t in good health and don’t expect to remain that way. Is that person marriage and child-raising material? Naw, but a **** is all good.

Then there’s those who can be bribed cheap — you know, with a donut, or a lottery ticket? That’s great marriage material too, right? I mean, let’s face facts: A healthy 20-something person has a statistical zero risk of being killed by Covid and half of them probably already had it and may not even know so they didn’t take the shot to protect their own health after careful deliberation and an antibody test first, right? How does this relate to long-term relationships? Simple: There’s always some ******* who is richer, no matter how much you have and she just branded herself as willing to sell her future cheap. VERY cheap. Thanks for the warning; it’s a hell of a lot better for a guy to conclusively find this out before he needs a divorce lawyer! Make sure the rubbers stay in your wallet so she can’t “pin” them before use and for the love of God flush the damn thing after you’re done so she can’t fish it out of the trash can!

It’s even worse from the male future family evaluation side. Some guys do want families. Was there permanent damage done to that capability in terms of bearing kids? We know that those nice mRNA shots show up in the ovaries. Oh, chick-a-dee didn’t know that before rolling up her sleeve? Well, that’s what haste gets you — not bothering to wait for the science to figure it out. I have no idea and neither does she if that’s a problem but she took the stab voluntarily. So about that willingness to have said family and put your relationship in front of preening around virtue-signaling on Instabitch and Facesucker, eh? Maybe that will all work out ok, but it seems to me that by the time we will know with reasonable certainty the window will be closed on the baby factory as only high-risk (for both woman and child) and maybe even IVF, if any, pregnancies will be possible. Again: No thanks; I’ll take the woman who didn’t deliberately risk permanent compromise of her reproductive capacity so she could get into Lollapalooza.

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21st century Frankenstein?

After COVID-19 Successes, Push For mRNA Vaccines For Other Diseases (Nature)

When the broad range of vaccines against COVID-19 were being tested in clinical trials, only a few experts expected the unproven technology of mRNA to be the star. Within 10 months, mRNA vaccines were both the first to be approved and the most effective. Although these are the first mRNA vaccines to be approved, the story of mRNA vaccines starts more than 30 years ago, with many bumps in the road along the way. In 1990, the late physician-scientist Jon Wolff and his University of Wisconsin colleagues injected mRNA into mice, which caused cells in the mice to produce the encoded proteins. In many ways, that work served as the first step toward making a vaccine from mRNA, but there was a long way to go—and there still is, for many applications.

Traditional vaccines use a weak or inactive form of a microorganism to turn the immune system against the disease. After a person is given injection of an mRNA vaccine, their cells make part or all of a protein that causes an immune response, including the production of antibodies. Although the most widely known examples are the mRNA-based vaccines from BioNTech–Pfizer and Moderna directed against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19, that is just one small part of this field—and those vaccines were not the first efforts that used mRNA. Despite the many benefits of using this molecule as the basis of a vaccine, it comes with fundamental challenges: it is not very stable inside cells, and mRNA is not efficiently translated into proteins when used as a gene-delivery tool. Today, mRNA can be engineered to battle many diseases, but it will not work with all of them.

German biotechnology company BioNTech’s chief medical officer Özlem Türeci—physician, immunologist and entrepreneur—says that “mRNA has a couple of interesting features that make it attractive for vaccines.” Adaptability serves as this molecule’s key feature in this application and beyond. mRNA can be engineered not only to make antigens for vaccines but also to encode antibodies, cytokines and other proteins related to the immune system. “The versatility of mRNA creates a huge design space,” she explains. The scientists at BioNTech spent years researching and developing techniques to get full command over mRNA, including optimizing its non-coding parts, designing specific sequences, developing manufacturing processes and more.

Türeci describes the results of those efforts by saying, “We have a diversified toolbox and by mixing and matching the modules in this toolbox, we can design mRNA with the features that we need for a particular purpose.” She adds that “it is a bit like writing code—by mastering a programming language [that] is rich in terms, one can give any instruction one wants.” With the BioNTech toolbox, the scientists can control how much protein is produced and for how long, the route of administration of the mRNA, which cells express the protein and if the mRNA creates a precise activation or suppression of the immune system.

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Does Biden really want to find out?

Former National Security Advisor: ‘I Think We Can’ Find Covid-19 Origin (Hill)

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger said that he believes it is possible to ascertain the origins of COVID-19 during a discussion of the Wuhan lab origin theory on Sunday. “I think there’s a lot that can be learned in 90 days,” Pottinger told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on NBC, referring to President Biden’s recent call for a 90-day report on the origins of COVID-19 from the U.S. intelligence community. “It’s conceivable that we’ll have an answer and even if we come up short with a definitive answer, what we’re gonna have is a foundation for additional revelations to come out from scientists around the world who are now going to be emboldened because they know that this is a priority of the United States,” Pottinger added.


Todd asked Pottinger if he believed a “definitive answer” about the origins of COVID-19 could be found even if the Chinese government is uncooperative. “I think we can. It might take more than 90 days, but look, … China has incredible and ethical scientists, many of whom in the early stages of the pandemic came out to say that they suspected that this was a lab leak,” Pottinger said. “So those people have been systematically silenced by their government,” he added, saying a U.S.-led global effort to find the origins of COVID-19 may embolden these scientists to come forward.

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With or from Covid?

Peru Surges To Highest Covid Death Toll Per Capita (Axios)

Peru officials revised the country’s COVID-19 death toll Monday from 69,342 to 180,764 after a review. The almost tripling of the number listed Sunday means the country has the worst pandemic death rate per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Per Johns Hopkins, Hungary previously had the highest coronavirus death toll per capita —about 300 per 100,000 people. With its revised toll, Peru stands at over 500 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people. Officials said that the undercounting was partially down to “a lack of testing that made it difficult to confirm whether a person had died due to the virus or some other cause,” Reuters reports. Experts had long raised concerns that the official death toll had been undercounted, as hospitals packed out with coronavirus patients and oxygen ran short, the news agency notes.

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It will get dangerous once they claim enough people have bee jabbed. We’re not there yet.

EU Plans To Lift Covid Quarantine Rules For Vaccinated From 1 July (G.)

The starting pistol has been fired on a “relaxing” summer holiday season for people living in the EU from 1 July, as Brussels proposed lifting all quarantine obligations on those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. From Tuesday, a system will be ready to allow member states to issue a digital Covid passport to citizens proving their status and freeing them up to travel. With infection rates on a downward trajectory across the bloc, a deadline has been set for 1 July for all 27 EU countries to accept the documentation as sufficient proof of vaccination for restrictions to be lifted. A negative test or proof of having recovered from infection will confer the same rights on the holder of a certificate.

The European Commission has proposed a standard validity period for tests: 72 hours before travel for PCR tests and 48 hours for rapid antigen tests. The children of those who are fully vaccinated will also be exempt from quarantine under the proposal and as a minimum no one under six years of age will need to take a test. Many countries are likely to set a higher age threshold for the testing of minors. The intention is that fully vaccinated UK travellers will benefit from the Covid passport system but, in light of the emerging variant first identified in India, EU governments may still impose restrictions on people arriving from the UK including testing and quarantine obligations.

From Monday, entry to France has been limited to EU nationals, French residents, and those travelling for essential purposes. People arriving from the UK must have tested negative and quarantine for seven days. While a sudden deterioration in the Covid infection rates in the EU could lead to the use of an “emergency brake” on the lifting of restrictions within the bloc, the intention is to reintroduce free movement as the summer tourism season begins.

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“..the whole sorry episode looks like an act-of-war but carried out with America’s foolish willing collaboration..”

The Three Rivers of Angst (Kunstler)

Three rivers of angst flow out of Memorial Day 2021, and it is possible to imagine how they will meet later this year and join in a mighty flood of woe over the country. The first is the toxic stream of Wokery saturating just about every institution in the USA from the armed services, to the DOJ, to education both public and private, to organized sports, to the corporate C suites and, of course, to the transmission of current events in news and social media. Despite the torrents of mendacious narratives and fogs of gaslight deployed in this campaign, a substantial chunk of the public resists suffocation and has finally begun to fight back, especially at the grass roots local level against the dogma-driven school boards out to cancel Western Civ.

Expect this to ramp up as the spring semester closes out and the schools must set the terms for resuming classes in the fall. The kids themselves are bucking the mask mandates while the parents tangle with the more vexing problems of Woke racist curricula and insane sexual propaganda. It’s going to get ugly. Another stream of angst is the River of Covid-19. The tide has just turned on the question of where it came from, namely, the Wuhan Lab, but it’s hard to game-out both what we might do about that concerning the CCP’s role in it – plus, the roles of Dr. Fauci and our own National Institutes of Health – and whether the depraved administration of China Joe Biden can even acknowledge the facts. That is to say: the whole sorry episode looks like an act-of-war but carried out with America’s foolish willing collaboration.

But then a whole raft of really deadly additional questions overrides even the quandary of who’s responsible, and I refer to the future course of the disease itself, whether another wave comes back, what new variants might emerge, and the extremely spooky issue of what the long-term effects of the experimental vaccines might be. Since the news media is so untrustworthy, and these are such troubling threats, it will be very hard to locate the truth about the medical concerns.

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They’ll throw some big words at it, that’s it.

US Caught Spying On EU ‘Allies’ Again…What Is Europe Going To Do About It? (RT)

The espionage dynamic ultimately ties into the same mindset: The United States sees the European Union more as an economic competitor than as a friend and does not in any respect want it to get ahead of them or gain “advantage” in any specific area. The F-16 story above reveals how US intelligence in fact serves the interests of the military industrial complex, seeking out the secrets of Europe’s own defence industry and ensuring America always has the competitive edge, even to the point of making national intelligence agencies betray their own countries. As Edward Snowden stated in an interview in 2014, the US engages in constant industrial espionage against big German companies such as Siemens, stating: “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless.”

In line with this, Angela Merkel, as a very Eurocentric leader who has a maverick approach to foreign policy and Germany’s place in the world, is unsurprisingly a frequent target of American intelligence activities. Washington is constantly wondering what she is thinking, intending and doing, not least regarding China and Russia where they do not see eye to eye. She is perhaps a “frenemy” to the US, a de facto ally and enemy simultaneously. But this all boils down to the big question as stated above, what is Europe going to do about it? Or can they do anything about it? The EU’s response to such unending controversies seems to be to make a small protest in the heat of the moment, but otherwise forget it and do nothing, passively tolerating American infiltration designed to undermine European interests and competitiveness across the board.

If Europe is serious about upholding its own “strategic clout” it has to be prepared to take bigger risks and stop being pressed into line under the obligation of “transatlaticism” and get tougher on the “American problem.” The bloc should take a leaf out of its rhetoric toward China and demand “reciprocity” in its relations with the United States, that it ceases espionage against them, seeks to curtail excessive “American influence” operations undermining their foreign policy and strategic independence and that it treats the continent as an equal and fair partner. Surely one would think ‘enough is enough’ but of course there is little reason to think anything will change. In a world where US surveillance is intrusive and rampant, America still surprisingly gets away with accusing everyone else of “spying.”

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By now, Russia is well prepared.

Russia May Be Cut Off From SWIFT Banking Payment System (RT)

Russian banks may be blocked from using SWIFT, a payment system that enables reliable and secure financial transactions, as part of restrictions against Moscow, in what one official has called a potential “spiral of sanctions.” “It’s no secret that there are threats, primarily from the United States, to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system,” said Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Economic Cooperation Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Speaking on RIA Novosti on Monday, the diplomat noted that Russia has concerns that SWIFT could get caught up in a “spiral of sanctions,” led by Washington. However, the senior official doesn’t think America will act on this threat any time soon.

“I’m actually confident that we won’t be disconnected from SWIFT anytime soon, and maybe never,” he said, noting that Russia would be able to come to payment agreements with their trading partners anyway. “Since 2014, Russia has been working on its own payment system. This system already exists,” he explained. “We all use the MIR card. It is also accepted in a number of neighboring countries and in Turkey. Negotiations are also underway with other partners.” Last month, politicians from the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution to condemn what they called Russia’s “military posturing close to the country’s border with Ukraine.” The MEPs agreed that, “should military build-up lead to an invasion,” Moscow should be excluded from SWIFT, along with other economic measures.

Proposals to cut Moscow off from the world’s leading international payment system are not new. After seven years of threats, Russia is now in a position where losing access to SWIFT would no longer be a disastrous blow. The country has created its own alternative, called SPFS, which works domestically, and Moscow is looking to expand the system internationally.

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Scary.

EU Set To Unveil Plans For Bloc-Wide Digital Wallet (R.)

The European Union (EU) is set to unveil plans for a bloc-wide digital wallet on Wednesday, following requests from member states to find a safe way for citizens to access public and private services online, the Financial Times reported. The app will allow citizens across the EU to securely access a range of private and public services with a single online ID, according to the FT report on Tuesday. The digital wallet will securely store payment details and passwords and allow citizens from all 27 countries to log onto local government websites or pay utility bills using a single recognized identity, the newspaper said, citing people with direct knowledge of the plans.


The EU-wide app can be accessed via fingerprint or retina scanning among other methods, and will also serve as a vault where users can store official documents like the driver’s licence, the newspaper reported. EU officials will enforce a structural separation to prevent companies that access user data from using the wallet for any other commercial activity such as marketing new products. Brussels is engaged in talks with member states to provide guidelines on technical standards for rollout of the digital wallet, which is expected to be fully operational in about a year, according to the newspaper.

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Cash is freedom.

Just 7% of UK Shop Payments Predicted To Be In Cash By 2024 (G.)

Just 7% of in-store purchases in the UK could be made in cash by 2024, a report has forecast, after the coronavirus pandemic fuelled the switch to cards and mobile payments. While cash accounted for 27% of in-store transactions in 2019, the latest global payments report from processing company Worldpay found that had fallen to 13% last year. The report predicts usage will continue to drop over the next three years. International figures showed that in several other countries, including Sweden, Canada and Australia, already less than one in 10 shop payments are made in cash. It predicted Sweden would be “almost cashless” by 2024, with 0.4% of transactions paid for with money, down from 15.2% in 2019 and 8.8% last year.


Consumers and businesses were already moving away from cash payments before the pandemic hit, but early concerns that Covid-19 could spread via surfaces led some companies to switch to contactless methods. The increase in the contactless limit on cards, and mobile payment services with no cap on spending have accelerated the switch away from cash. Worldpay said that by 2024 it expected mobile to make up a third of payments. Pete Wickes of Worldpay said: “This research shows the speed and scale of the transformation in consumer behaviour in just 12 months. “The decline in the use of cash in the UK has accelerated, and while this opens up new opportunities for businesses to optimise and drive efficiencies, we need to be mindful that important parts of the economy continue to rely on cash, such as charity donations and restaurant tip jars, while there are many in society who remain underbanked.”

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May 232020
 


Adam Zyglis The son of man May 19 2020

 

US Grants Tentative OK For 15 Air Carriers To Cut Service To 75 Airports (R.)
UK Confirms 14-Day Quarantine Post-Travel (Y!)
Remdesivir Study Finds Mortality Too High For Standalone Treatment (ZH)
NIH Trial: Redesivir Works Best In COVID Patients On Oxygen (R.)
US Veterans Agency Has Given HCQ To 1,300 Coronavirus Patients (R.)
COVID19 ‘Taking Different Path In Africa’, Says WHO (G.)
Peruvian President Extends Nationwide Lockdown Through June 30 (CNN)
Chileans Rediscover Community Kitchens As Coronavirus and Hunger Bite (R.)
Car Rental Giant Hertz Files For Bankruptcy (Solomon)
This Sucker Is Going Down (Kunstler)
Argentina Set For Default As Bondholders Reject New Terms (G.)
FBI Launches Internal Investigation Into Its Handling Of Flynn Case (JTN)
FBI Opened Russia Probe On Third-Hand ‘Suggestion’ Of Collusion (JTN)

 

 

Global new cases in past 24 hours: 107,743

New cases in:
• US + 23,591
• Russia + 9,434
• Brazil + 21.461
• India + 6,568
• Chile + 4,726

New deaths in past 24 hours:
• US + 1,260 (total deaths 97,655)
• Russia + 139
• Brazil + 1,034
• Spain + 688
• UK +351
• Mexico + 337

 

 

https://twitter.com/SteveGuest/status/1263901535462928386

 

 

 

Cases 5,326,230 (+ 107,743 from yesterday’s 5,218,496)

Deaths 340,383 (+ 5,314 from yesterday’s 335,069)

 

 

 

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

 

 

From Worldometer

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

Now that their lockdowns end, the US and UK take measures they should have when they started. The cart and the horse.

How is this not insane? During the lockdowns, US airlines have kept flying everywhere, and people have entered the UK without even being checked (an official policy).

Now that the virus is solidly embedded in the home population, they start acting to prevent it from embedding itself in the population.

US Grants Tentative OK For 15 Air Carriers To Cut Service To 75 Airports (R.)

The U.S. Transportation Department said late on Friday it had granted tentative approval to 15 airlines to temporarily halt service to 75 U.S. airports because of the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines must maintain minimum service levels in order to receive government assistance but many have petitioned to stop service to airports with low passenger demand. Both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines won tentative approval to halt flights to 11 airports, while JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines were approved to stop flights to five airports each. The department said all airports would continue to be served by at least one air carrier.


The Transportation Department said objections to the order can be filed until May 28. U.S. air carriers are collectively burning through more than $10 billion in cash a month as travel demand remains a fraction of prior levels, even though it has rebounded slightly in recent weeks. They have parked more than half of their planes and cut thousands of flights. The department has previously granted airlines waivers to cancel some additional flights and denied others. On May 12, the department said it would allow carriers to halt flights to up to 5% of required destinations.


Getty

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Millions of travelers since January, and 100,000 air passengers alone from April 1-26, have entered the UK unhindered. No More! We have all the virus we need!

UK Confirms 14-Day Quarantine Post-Travel (Y!)

The UK government confirmed in a statement that it will put in place a 14-day period of quarantine for anyone that lands on British soil in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The move, which was announced at the government’s daily press briefing, will be a huge blow for the airline industry that is predicted to lose $314bn this year, according to the latest prediction from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). That number is still 25% more than previously forecasted. This is also due to a 55% drop in 2020 passenger revenue compared with last year.


Home secretary Priti Patel confirmed at the daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street on Friday that alongside the 14-day quarantine, those under that lockdown could be contacted regularly throughout this period to ensure compliance. “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border,” she said in a statement. “We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave. “I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures. But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others.”

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When a ‘pivotal’ study is released on a Friday at 6pm, you know something’s wrong. But we still see headlines today like:

“Gilead’s drug works best in COVID patients on oxygen” and “Anti-viral drug ‘remdesivir’ effective against coronavirus, study finds”.

Remdesivir doesn’t work. It may have a little effect on people who already get oxygen, but that’s it. It doesn’t cure a thing.

There’s a Chinese study out on a drug with the great plus that it hasn’t killed anyone in phase 1 testing.

That is the new standard. All investors should move in! This could be the one!

Remdesivir Study Finds Mortality Too High For Standalone Treatment (ZH)

… According to a pivotal study published in the New England Journal of Medicine late on Friday, Remdesivir, which was authorized to treat Covid-19 in a group of 1063 adults and children (split into two groups, one receiving placebo instead of remdesivir) who need i) supplemental oxygen, ii) a ventilator or iii) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), only significantly helped those on supplemental oxygen. Meanwhile, and explaining the 6pm release on a Friday, the study also found no marked benefit from remdesivir for those who were healthier and didn’t need oxygen or those who were sicker, requiring a ventilator or a heart-lung bypass machine.

The NEJM, almost apologetically, stated that “the lack of benefit seen in the other groups might have stemmed from a smaller number of patients in each group.” Still, as a result of the partial benefit for patients in the supplemental oxygen group, the study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was evaluated early and led to the authorization of remdesivir before the full trial was completed. Our findings highlight the need to identify Covid-19 cases and start antiviral treatment before the pulmonary disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation.

A visual representation of the outcomes is below; it shows that whereas there was a modest benefit only to patients who were receiving oxygen, the results were statistically insignificant vs placebo for patients not receiving oxygen, while in a surprising twist patients on high-flow oxygen or mechanical ventilator/ECMO did modestly better in the placebo group than those taking remdesivir. Also, the overall results showed a very modest, but not statistically significant improvement in the remdesivir group vs placebo. [..] Another disappointment: the study found that overall “mortality was numerically lower in the remdesivir group than in the placebo group, but the difference was not significant”, in other words the alleged “miracle drug” has largely the same effect as a placebo in terms of overall disease mortality.

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It looks like advertizing gone wrong.

NIH Trial: Redesivir Works Best In COVID Patients On Oxygen (R.)

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Friday said that data from its trial of Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) remdesivir show that the drug offers the most benefit for COVID-19 patients who need extra oxygen but do not require mechanical ventilation. The peer-reviewed data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial, for which final results are still trickling in, showed that recovery time for patients given remdesivir was shortened by four days, or 31%, compared to placebo patients. The biggest benefit was seen in patients who were sick enough to need supplemental oxygen, but were not on a ventilator. The data detailed in the journal is similar to early results that the NIH released last month from the study, which began in February with 1,063 participants in 10 countries.


Researchers now calculate that after follow up, 7% of patients given remdesivir will have died, compared with 12% in the placebo group, but they said the difference in the death rate was not significant. “Our findings highlight the need to identify COVID-19 cases and start antiviral treatment before the pulmonary disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation,” the researchers wrote. They noted that “given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir,” it is likely that the antiviral drug would be more effective in combination with other treatments for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Gilead said it expects results from its own study of remdesivir in patients with moderate COVID-19 at the end of this month.

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Chuck Schumer is only interested because he can smear Trump. That the VA employs thousands of doctors makes no difference. They are all wrong.

US Veterans Agency Has Given HCQ To 1,300 Coronavirus Patients (R.)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has treated 1,300 coronavirus patients with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which a study has tied to an increased risk of death, according to a document released by a Senate Democrat on Friday. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who received the information from the VA in response to questions he submitted on the issue, said he was “deeply troubled” by the data. President Donald Trump has long urged use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus and recently said he has been taking it himself, despite evidence that the treatment could be harmful.

A study published on Friday in the medical journal Lancet tied the drug to an increased risk of death in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In April, doctors at VA itself also said hydroxychloroquine did not help COVID-19 patients and might pose a higher risk of death. The VA, which provides care to 9 million veterans, said that about 1,300 coronavirus patients who received the drug are among more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients it has treated.

It has also dispensed hydroxychloroquine to about 7,500 patients with other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The VA said it will continue to dispense the drug under the guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration. In answer to a question from Schumer, the VA said it was not pressured into using hydroxychloroquine by the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services or any other federal agency. “VA, like so many medical facilities across this nation, is in a race to keep patients alive during this pandemic, and we are using as many tools as we can,” the VA told Schumer.

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Sure, younger population. But more than that, no health care systems, no ways to keep track of infected or dead, let alone with what.

Different path alright.

COVID19 ‘Taking Different Path In Africa’, Says WHO (G.)

There had been apocalyptic forecasts for the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Africa. On Friday evening, after the 100,000th case was reached, the World Health Organization’s Africa office circulated a note saying that it now seemed clear that the pandemic “appears to be taking a different pathway in Africa.” The note continued: Case numbers have not grown at the same exponential rate as in other regions and so far Africa has not experienced the high mortality seen in some parts of the world. Today, there are 3,100 confirmed deaths on the continent. By comparison, when cases reached 100,000 in the WHO European region, deaths stood at more than 4,900.

Early analysis by WHO suggests that Africa’s lower mortality rate may be the result of demography and other possible factors. Africa is the youngest continent demographically with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. Older adults have a significantly increased risk of developing a severe illness. In Europe nearly 95% of deaths occurred in those older than 60 years. WHO also noted that African governments swiftly imposed restrictive measures on their populations in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease. However, it also said that despite “significant progress in testing”, rates of testing remain low in comparison to other regions.

It insisted that, despite the relatively low number of cases, “the pandemic remains a major threat to the continent’s health systems”. Now that countries are starting to ease their confinement measures, there is a possibility that cases could increase significantly, and it is critical that governments remain vigilant and ready to adjust measures in line with epidemiological data and proper risk assessment.

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Peru has it bad.

Peruvian President Extends Nationwide Lockdown Through June 30 (CNN)

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced Friday that a national state of emergency, which includes mandatory social isolation measures, will be extended through June 30. He announced that “a national state of emergency is being declared from Monday, May 25 until June 30, including obligatory social isolation, quarantine, due to the grave circumstances that affect the life of the nation due to Covid-19,” according to state news agency Andina. Vizcarra first declared a nationwide state of emergency, which included mandatory self-quarantine and closed the country’s borders, on March 15. With the current extension, Peru will be under a state of emergency for at least three and a half months.

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“On the first night, the word “hunger” was projected onto one of Santiago’s tallest buildings.”

Chileans Rediscover Community Kitchens As Coronavirus and Hunger Bite (R.)

Poor neighbourhoods in the Chilean capital Santiago have seen a resurgence in the use of community kitchens once prevalent in the darkest days of dictatorship, as coronavirus shutdowns put pressure on jobs and send thousands into poverty. With winter approaching and temperatures chilling, canteen-style operations provide plates of hot food to those with dwindling incomes or nothing at all. They are organized by neighbors, local leaders and councils, who donate money or food. “My people are getting desperate, they have nothing to eat so we asked for help and as always, the people answered,” Sandra Cariz, the president of a community association, told Reuters in the Puente Alto suburb of Santiago on Friday.


The kitchens come alongside a growing number of drives circulating on social media for food, money and clothing donations. Chile has about 62,000 coronavirus cases and 600 deaths. Its economy has taken a hit unlike anything since the 1980s, government officials have said, when almost half of Chileans lived below the poverty line and the country was rocked by protests against Augusto Pinochet’s regime. When the coronavirus hit in March, Chile was just recovering from intense social protests over inequality which included arson attacks and looting. Protests restarted this week, with skirmishes between police and people denouncing the highest job losses in a decade. On the first night, the word “hunger” was projected onto one of Santiago’s tallest buildings.

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Uber.

Car Rental Giant Hertz Files For Bankruptcy (Solomon)

Hertz Global Holdings on Friday eveing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as large debts and 700,000 vehicles mostly idled by the pandemic brought the car rental giant to its knees. The Florida-based company, which listed more than $24 billion in debt, took the action in a Delaware bankruptcy court in an effort to avoid permanent closure and a liquidation of its fleet. The company said it had $1 billion in cash to keep operating on a limited basis while it negotiated with its lenders and vendors. Its financial problems became apparent last month when it missed a round of payments. Hertz is the nation’s second largest car rental agency and boasts the brands Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, and Firefly.

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“As in any extinction event, it will be the smaller organisms that survive and eventually thrive and that’s how it will go in the next edition of America..”

This Sucker Is Going Down (Kunstler)

It was only a few decades ago that Walmart entered the pantheon of American icons, joining motherhood, apple pie, and baseball on the highest tier of the altar. The people were entranced by this behemoth cornucopia of unbelievably cheap stuff packaged in gargantuan quantities. It was something like their participation trophy for the sheer luck of being born in this exceptional land, or having valiantly clawed their way in from wretched places near and far – where, increasingly, the mighty stream of magically cheap stuff was manufactured. The evolving psychology of Walmart-ism had a strangely self-destructive aura about it. Like cargo cultists waiting on a jungle mountaintop, small town Americans prayed and importuned the gods of commerce to bring them a Walmart.

Historians of the future, pan-frying ‘possum cutlets over their campfires, will marvel at the potency of their ancestors’ prayers. Every little burg in the USA eventually saw a Walmart UFO land in the cornfield or cow-pasture on the edge of town. Like the space invaders of sci-fi filmdom, Walmart quickly killed off everything else of economic worth around it, and eventually the towns themselves. And that was where things stood as the long emergency commenced in the winter of early 2020, along with the Covid-19 corona virus riding shotgun on the hearse-wagon it rolled in on. We’re in a liminal, transitional moment of history, like beach-goers gawking at the glassy-green curve of a great wave in the throes of breaking. Such mesmerizing beauty!

Alas, most people can’t surf. It looks easy on TV, but you’d be surprised at the conditioning it takes, and Americans are way, way out of condition. (All those tattoos don’t give you an ounce of extra mojo.) And so, in this liminal moment, the people still trudge dutifully to the Walmarts with their dwindling reserves of cash money to get stuff, going through all the devotions that we took for granted before the wave welled up and threatened to break over us. Which is happening. Despite all the fake-heroic blather from the Federal Reserve, from Nancy Pelosi, from Mr. Trump and Mr. Mnuchin – from everybody in charge, to be really fair – and in the immortal words of another recent president — this sucker is going down. Specifically, what’s going down is the aggregate of transactions we call “the economy.”

[..] As in any extinction event, it will be the smaller organisms that survive and eventually thrive and that’s how it will go in the next edition of America, whether we remain states united or find ourselves organized differently. Accordingly, the giants must fall. When the communities of America rebuild, it will be the thousands of small activities that matter, because they will entail the rebuilding of social capital as well as exchanges that amount to business. Social capital is exactly what Walmart and things like it killed in every community from sea to shining sea. People stopped doing business with their neighbors. It took a cataclysm for them to finally notice.

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On average once every decade?!

Argentina Set For Default As Bondholders Reject New Terms (G.)

Argentina is on course for a technical default on its government borrowing on Friday as the country continues to hold talks with international investors over plans to restructure its debts. Financial investors said they expected the country to miss $500m (£410m) in interest payments on its borrowing, according to the Reuters news agency, as the government tries to renegotiate its borrowing before a 2 June deadline. With the economy in recession even before the coronavirus outbreak and spiralling inflation, Argentina has about $65bn in debt owned by overseas investors, which both the state and its creditors believe is unsustainable. The government has asked bondholders to accept significantly lower interest payments on its debts and to defer payments until 2024. Investors had thus far rejected the terms proposed by president Alberto Fernández’s centre-left government, which came to power late last year.


This month, a group of leading economists including Thomas Piketty and the Nobel prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz urged bondholders to take a constructive approach to restructuring Argentina’s debts. They argued debt relief for the country would be “the only way to combat the pandemic and set the economy on a sustainable path”. A group of international investors – including Ashmore, BlackRock and AllianceBernstein – that hold about $16.7bn of Argentinian bonds said on Friday that they recognised the country was seeking a comprehensive deal, even though failure to pay would trigger a default, Reuters reported. Sarah-Jayne Clifton, director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said that Argentina was right to demand a deep debt restructuring and to default if lenders did not accept a deal. “Reckless lending at high interest rates helped to create the current crisis, so lenders and speculators should share in the costs,” she said.

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Oh, get serious.

FBI Launches Internal Investigation Into Its Handling Of Flynn Case (JTN)

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday ordered an internal investigation into the bureau’s handling of the Michael Flynn case, just two weeks after the Justice Department declared that it was dropping the case against him and that federal investigators had no standing to interview the general in early 2017. Wray “today ordered the Bureau’s Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation,” the FBI announced on Friday. The Inspection Division essentially functions similarly to an internal affairs office found in lower law enforcement agencies. Fox News reported on Friday that the bureau will seek to identify whether any current FBI officials “engaged in misconduct” during the investigation, as well as whether or not the agency can improve its investigation process moving forward.


The bureau “does not have the ability to take any disciplinary action” against former employees, the FBI’s statement said. Flynn’s plight has received new attention in recent weeks, starting with the stunning Justice Department announcement at the beginning of the month. Following the department’s decision, the judge overseeing the Flynn case, Emmet Sullivan, declined to immediately dismiss it per the recommendation from Justice, instead inviting an amicus curiae brief from retired Judge John Gleeson in support of continuing the case against the general.

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Boy what a sh*tshow.

FBI Opened Russia Probe On Third-Hand ‘Suggestion’ Of Collusion (JTN)

The FBI’s probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia was opened on a third-hand “suggestion” of wrongdoing and the thinnest of suspicions that illegal foreign lobbying had occurred, according to a declassified memo released Friday that shows agents immediately flagged the strong limitations of their evidence. The July 31, 2016 electronic communication that officially open the counterintelligence investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane was obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. It shows the criminal basis for opening the probe was suspected violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, but it did not identify a single episode that it said violated the law.

Rather it focused on a “suggestion” passed on by Australian ambassador Alexander Downer that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos might be coordinating with Russia the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Downer had heard the information about the Russians during a bar conversation in May 2016 from Papadopoulos, who had heard it two months earlier from a European professor who had heard it from Russians allegedly. The memo shows the case agent, Peter Strzok, expressed some doubts and reservations about the limitations of the evidence even as he opened the probe. The memo cited concerns about “suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”

Papadopoulos “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia” that it had damaging information, the memo said. But Strzok’s memo immediately noted the limitations of the allegations forwarded from the Australians. “It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer,” the memo stated. Kevin Brock, the former chief of intelligence for the FBI, said the electronic communication did not meet the bureau’s rigorous standards for predicating the opening of a criminal or counterintelligence case. [..] Asked whether as an FBI assistant director he would have approved opening Crossfire Hurricane based on what was in the memo, Brock said: “Not in a millions years. I wouldn’t have approved it as a squad supervisor either. This would have set off alarm bells in any FBI field for not meeting our standards for a predicate.”

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